Will Crystal Palace's famous pool ever reopen? Decision due within weeks

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A decision on the future of the famous swimming and diving pools at Crystal Palace is expected within weeks, according to London mayor Sadiq Khan.

The pools were drained in March 2020 after a leak in the 50m pool was traced to a cracked underwater window.

More than 30,000 people have signed a petition calling on the mayor to fund the estimated £1.3m repair bill.

Supporters include Streatham diver Eden Cheng who came seventh in the women's 10m synchro class during the Tokyo Olympics.

"I know a lot of divers who are at national level, even international level and without a pool like Crystal Palace so close to home and without the chance of gaining access to another pool with such high facilities, they lose interest in diving, and they just stop," said Eden Cheng

"We need somewhere where people can come and train so that we're creating the next generation of swimmers," said Lewisham West & Penge Labour MP Ellie Reeves.

"If we lose a facility in southeast London, we're never going to get it back again," she added.

The National Sports Centre, including a world-class athletics track opened in 1964 but campaigners claim it has been allowed to decay.

The cracked underwater window which forced the closure of the swimming and diving pools at Crystal Palace

"You've got people coming here from all over London and the southeast to use the facilities and yet they've been in managed decline for the decade or more," said former athletics coach John Powell, chair of the Crystal Palace Sports Partnership.

"Rats on the indoor track, trees growing out of the stadium and now you've got dry swimming pools," he added.

City Hall said a full refurbishment of the south London site would cost £33m but a decision on the pools would be made soon.

"I'm hoping over the course of the next few weeks to give an open date," said Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London.

"It's been delayed of course by the pandemic which slowed some of the work. Clearly we can't reopen the pool and the centre if there are any concerns about safety," he added.