Backing for ‘charming idea’ to build lido at Islington car park

�An ambitious plan to create a lido from a car park in a bustling inner city area has been unveiled.

The site, on City Road between Central Street and Dingley Road, Islington, is earmarked for development and resident Leo Chapman wants to see an open air swimming pool included in the plans.

It’s currently home to offices and a sunken car park – which he says is rarely used because of the congestion charge – and developers Berkely Homes want to build 900 flats on the plot.

Back to life

Mr Chapman, who lives in nearby Dufferin Street, has other ideas: “The drained, near-empty garage needs to be brought back to life,’’ he said.

“It must be un-roofed and it could be used for demolition rubble as it was deepened. Then a lido or other large water feature could be built to restore the basin in some form after 50 years or so. It could be a condition of planning consent.”

Mr Chapman is part of a group asked for input by the developers to gauge people’s reaction to the development.

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He said: “I don’t see why they couldn’t do it – the hole is already dug. It would look a lot better than just a lot of grass.”

Cllr Martin Klute, an architect who represents nearby St Peter’s ward, said: “I think it’s a rather charming idea. It would reawaken the identity of the canal.”

The site sits on what used to be the south basin, re-configured in the 1960s and roofed. The north basin, on the other side of City Road, is still filled with water. The hump in City Road is a bridge over the former waterway connecting the two pools.

The whole area has been spruced up in recent years with more plans afoot.

Work has just started on a �65million, 36-storey tower which will be the tallest in Islington.

Ian Shacklock, chairman of Friends of Regents Canal, said: “This would help integrate the people of Bunhill Ward with the rest of the basin. It would also make the Canal Basin Plaza seem less isolated. It is a great idea.”

Hackney and Camden have outdoor swimming pools, but there isn’t one in Islington.