The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

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Sydenham
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Location: Wells Park

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by Sydenham » 24 Jul 2019 09:00

Beckenham Place Park temporarily closed:

https://lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/opensp ... place-park

Rachael
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Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by Rachael » 24 Jul 2019 09:45

Just back from the park. It’s not closed yet, although the main entrance in was closed and areas fenced off to set up for a concert / festival. There were people swimming within the splash zone, I didn’t see anyone in the deeper water but there would have been nothing to stop them.

It will be really sad to see the lake fenced in. The views of it since the fencing came down have really gladdened the heart recently.

Many of the improvements to the park are fantastic. I know a lot of people were doubtful, especially the dog walkers (including me) who’ve enjoyed roaming the entirety of the park since the golf course was opened up, with limited other users. It was good while it lasted, but it’s only fair the space be used for everyone. The woods were still peaceful this morning for our dog walk.

As a small counter balance - there are several reports this morning of mishaps in water around London. People do need to be educated about the dangers of open water ANYWHERE.

alywin
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Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by alywin » 25 Jul 2019 08:21

Sydenham wrote:
24 Jul 2019 09:00
Beckenham Place Park temporarily closed:

https://lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/opensp ... place-park
"You will need a ticket to access the lake area. There will be a small charge to enter.
There will be lifeguards on duty whenever the lake is open."

The latter is good to know, but I'm concerned that this may ultimately equate to the lake not being open when Lewisham don't want to/can't provide lifeguards. How often was it intended to be available for swimming?

gerispringer
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Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by gerispringer » 25 Jul 2019 09:48

I think the problems arise as the swimming pond was opened before it was properly finished and has coincided with a heatwave. At other swimming ponds in London you have to go through a gate and there are restrictions in who can swim. Maybe they should have had a separate paddling pool for toddlers or avoided the steep drop from the paddling area. Most parents were treating it as a paddling pool, ignoring the kids and not an open potentially dangerous stretch of water. There aren’t any toilets either so you can imagine what all those small children are doing in the water. Agree it should have proper fencing, gates, be paid for and therefore be restricted to competent swimmers. Shame as it could have been really good if properly thought through and actually finished.

John H
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Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by John H » 25 Jul 2019 15:04

Perhaps now some of the sneerers and jeerers will apologise for their abusive response to my original point. I am proved right.

The half hearted changes will not resolve the safety issues. There MUST be buoyancy aids at 50 yard intervals around the lake. There MUST be lifeguards position in elevated observation stations. There MUST be a minimum of three lifguards on duty at all times. Even then it will not be safe.

Lewisham Council cannot hide behind " we did what the law said". There have an obligation to go beyond the letter of the law where safety is concerned.

Rachael
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Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by Rachael » 25 Jul 2019 15:33

I also feel somewhat sorry for TPT Coaching, who were contracted to run the swimming and water sports. They are a very small local company and seemed overwhelmed by the task of running the bookings - their website was a homemade GoDaddy site that was a real shambles. And now it appears to be broken altogether. I imagine they’ve laid out quite a lot to get lifeguards and coaches lined up, along with other costs. Are they still being paid? Will they be ditched by Lewisham? It’s a sorry state of affairs.

It has been suggested anecdotally that someone from TPT said a £9,000 permenant barrier to mark the transition to the deeper water should be installed but they couldn’t afford it and Lewisham wouldn’t pay for it. The rope barrier was apparently put up by TPT in an effort to make some sort of demarcation of the sudden drop. https://www.mylondon.news/news/south-lo ... r-16636910

milton
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Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by milton » 25 Jul 2019 16:43

I just read of the closure elsewhere,so came here to see what was going on.

In the 1950s, Wells park which was a little gem of a place had several paddling pools graduated from very shallow to deeper for the sole use of children.
I see that's all gone now. It was a much loved and used facility. It did though, go downhill as the rabble moved into the estate opposite and nuisance and vandalism occured.


If an adult wanted to swim they went to a swimming bath.
Perhaps now some of the sneerers and jeerers will apologise for their abusive response to my original point. I am proved right.
I have been reading this site, and once contributing under a different name for about 10yrs, You should know by now that this site is where wholesale sneerers and jeerers come out to play ,especially if you dare to voice an opinion that runs counter to those of the regulars .

Wait for the responses to this post. :D

John H
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Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by John H » 25 Jul 2019 17:16

Rachael wrote:
25 Jul 2019 15:33
I also feel somewhat sorry for TPT Coaching, who were contracted to run the swimming and water sports. They are a very small local company and seemed overwhelmed by the task of running the bookings - their website was a homemade GoDaddy site that was a real shambles. And now it appears to be broken altogether. I imagine they’ve laid out quite a lot to get lifeguards and coaches lined up, along with other costs. Are they still being paid? Will they be ditched by Lewisham? It’s a sorry state of affairs.

It has been suggested anecdotally that someone from TPT said a £9,000 permenant barrier to mark the transition to the deeper water should be installed but they couldn’t afford it and Lewisham wouldn’t pay for it. The rope barrier was apparently put up by TPT in an effort to make some sort of demarcation of the sudden drop. https://www.mylondon.news/news/south-lo ... r-16636910
The base of the pond consists of plastic sheets. Anything permanent would puncture the base and the lake would drain. CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP. What this demonstrates, however, is the mayoral system does not work. If local councillors had any influence this scheme would never have seen the light of day or, if it had, they would be in the process of being booted out.

Lewisham is a shadow of what it was. Its services are all run at arms length by goodness knows who.. hiding from the public behind walls of call centres. Lewisham has been Bullocked out of existence.

John H
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Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by John H » 25 Jul 2019 17:18

gerispringer wrote:
25 Jul 2019 09:48
I think the problems arise as the swimming pond was opened before it was properly finished and has coincided with a heatwave. At other swimming ponds in London you have to go through a gate and there are restrictions in who can swim. Maybe they should have had a separate paddling pool for toddlers or avoided the steep drop from the paddling area. Most parents were treating it as a paddling pool, ignoring the kids and not an open potentially dangerous stretch of water. There aren’t any toilets either so you can imagine what all those small children are doing in the water. Agree it should have proper fencing, gates, be paid for and therefore be restricted to competent swimmers. Shame as it could have been really good if properly thought through and actually finished.
No. The design of the pond is fundamentally unsafe. The Site Engineer appeared to be a very young woman who was certainly not old enough to have completed the arduous requirements of becoming a Chartered Engineer. She was seen, often, arguing fiercely with the workman.

John H
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Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by John H » 25 Jul 2019 17:20

Rachael wrote:
25 Jul 2019 15:33
I also feel somewhat sorry for TPT Coaching, who were contracted to run the swimming and water sports. They are a very small local company and seemed overwhelmed by the task of running the bookings - their website was a homemade GoDaddy site that was a real shambles. And now it appears to be broken altogether. I imagine they’ve laid out quite a lot to get lifeguards and coaches lined up, along with other costs. Are they still being paid? Will they be ditched by Lewisham? It’s a sorry state of affairs.

It has been suggested anecdotally that someone from TPT said a £9,000 permenant barrier to mark the transition to the deeper water should be installed but they couldn’t afford it and Lewisham wouldn’t pay for it. The rope barrier was apparently put up by TPT in an effort to make some sort of demarcation of the sudden drop. https://www.mylondon.news/news/south-lo ... r-16636910
IN the courts that will be noted as PROOF they were aware of the dangers.

Holaquease
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Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by Holaquease » 25 Jul 2019 17:55

John H wrote:
25 Jul 2019 15:04
Perhaps now some of the sneerers and jeerers will apologise for their abusive response to my original point. I am proved right.

The half hearted changes will not resolve the safety issues. There MUST be buoyancy aids at 50 yard intervals around the lake. There MUST be lifeguards position in elevated observation stations. There MUST be a minimum of three lifguards on duty at all times. Even then it will not be safe.

Lewisham Council cannot hide behind " we did what the law said". There have an obligation to go beyond the letter of the law where safety is concerned.
I can't speak for anyone else but I might be more inclined to listen to you if you were to use less combative language and tried not to be so rampantly negative about everything. This situation feels a little bit 'boy who cried wolf'. You were bound to get something right eventually. Whether or not people would be prepared to listen to you by then... another matter entirely.

As it happens you do appear to have been correct about the steep sides of the lake. You spotted it early on and credit to you for that. Whether that's the reason for the closure or whether it's because of the overcrowding remains unclear, to me at least.

stuart
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Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by stuart » 25 Jul 2019 18:26

Yes John - you were right. Kudos. The danger you were in was, as Holaquease states, some of us tend to imagine you over egg things a bit. Which means when you hit the nail on the head we don't always see it.

Seperating fact from opinion a little more might have made people take more notice. Just sayin' there is no point in being right if people aren't listening.

Best,
Stuart

John H
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Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by John H » 25 Jul 2019 18:42

stuart wrote:
25 Jul 2019 18:26
Yes John - you were right. Kudos. The danger you were in was, as Holaquease states, some of us tend to imagine you over egg things a bit. Which means when you hit the nail on the head we don't always see it.

Seperating fact from opinion a little more might have made people take more notice. Just sayin' there is no point in being right if people aren't listening.

Best,
Stuart
I never over egg. The problem is that some people are a little slow and cannot understand the complexity of what is said. I endeavour to be concise and accurate.

Not interested in Kudos. My post was aimed at saving lives. Had some in here taken notice then a number of near tragedies could have been avoided.

The patching process underway will not resolve the safety issues and it is only a matter of time until that pond claims lives.

My original post:
On this topic I would hate to be proved right but I know I shall be.

FACT Lewisham's cut down cheap and nasty destruction of Beckenham Place Park has resulted in a large pond (they call it a lake) which is fifteen feet deep with invisible and sudden increases in depth. Despite the notices suggesting there will be lifeguards there is no sign of them as yet and it is clear that the cost of providing lifeguards will be the first economy Lewisham makes.

FACT The original lake was supposed to have been restored. Instead a new pond has been created with steep sides which create, therefore, a serious safety issue. As I write, despite the flimsy fencing around the pond, dozens of people are allowing their children to play in the pond. The parents of those children have no way of knowing where the bottom of the lake suddenly plunges down to its full depth.

FACT The park does not have secure borders and therefore the lake cannot be secured at night. If it were then this would breach the covenant on the land (I understand). Notwithstanding that there is a common law right of access to the park.

Conclusion I shall be surprised if there is no drowning before the "opening" day. It is inevitable this silly cheapskate (though expensive) development will result in tragedy. To call the pond a lake is ridiculous. Expensive aerating equipment has already had to have been installed. Such equipment requires maintenance. Lewisham has never spent money on this park. It has deteriorated, from being one of Greater London's finest parks, to little more than a patch of untended land. There was no justification for the award of lottery money for this project which has damaged this fine park.

I am sure this was not what the Cator family intended when they gifted it to the then borough of Catford.


John H
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Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by John H » 31 Jul 2019 11:46

Yesterday I visited the almost abandoned park. The temporary fencing is close to the edges of the lake but blocks one part of the path around it. A number of portacabins have sprung up with the name of an event organiser on them, including a collection alongside the lake. Notices tell us the "lake is closed".

A plethora of security people are in attendance including a dog patrol inside the lake fence.

Odd how this can be afforded now the horse has bolted.

Meanwhile yet more of the park has been churned up by heavy construction traffic. This park has been destroyed by Lewisham.

Rachael
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Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by Rachael » 31 Jul 2019 12:59

I was also in the park yesterday. I’d say there were more people than usual who were not dog walkers - dog walkers bring the vast majority of users up until now. Was it busy? No? Was it pissing with rain? Yes.

John H
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Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by John H » 31 Jul 2019 15:20

Rachael wrote:
31 Jul 2019 12:59
I was also in the park yesterday. I’d say there were more people than usual who were not dog walkers - dog walkers bring the vast majority of users up until now. Was it busy? No? Was it pissing with rain? Yes.
It was not raining when I was there but the absence of the free ducking pond and the weather and the bad publicity all combined... When I was there I saw less than a dozen people there. It was like the days before the end of the golf course....

Rachael
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Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by Rachael » 1 Aug 2019 11:51

Just returned from the park. It was so busy we had to queue for the car park for ten minutes. There were no special events on. Just people using the park.

stone-penge
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Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by stone-penge » 1 Aug 2019 14:10

Yep. Sad news for the posters on here who hope to see it fail but the park is currently banged out with families and dog walkers today.
Wait till the cafe opens:I suspect some here will worry about children drowning in the water bowl left out for the dogs. :D

Tim Lund
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Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by Tim Lund » 1 Aug 2019 18:12

Rachael wrote:
1 Aug 2019 11:51
Just returned from the park. It was so busy we had to queue for the car park for ten minutes. There were no special events on. Just people using the park.
Are there car park charges? Nothing on the web site about it

https://lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/opensp ... acilities

Charging for parking would raise money which could support lower swimming charges, and would also help reduce this sort of congestion. It would also be consistent with any plausible policy to promote healthy lifestyles.

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