Heath sunbathers denied pond tap water to refill bottles

City of London say visitors to the Heath can use a hose set up on the upper meadow

Friday, 29th July — By Harry Taylor

Heath Ponds swimming

SUNBATHERS were left fuming after Heath lifeguards refused to let them refill water bottles at the weekend, before the hottest days of the year, fearing a repeat if warm weather returns.

Groups who had gathered to enjoy the sunshine on the field near the Ladies’ Pond last Saturday and Sunday, prior to the record-breaking days, had asked staff to fill up their water bottles from taps there.

In previous years they have been able to do so, but this time Heath staff refused, saying they would only be able to if they had paid to swim.

Despite the pond being largely empty, there were no slots available.

Su Haire was among those who had visited with friends and were turned away, instead being told to walk to the café near the bandstand to fill up their bottles.

She said: “They still allow people in for free to use the meadow to sunbathe, but you cannot use the showers or the water tap unless you pay to swim. It’s quite difficult to get a slot to swim on the booking system.

“The ponds were actually quite empty, there were not many people swimming. We would have gladly paid to swim but that was not an option.

“We have written and complained. It used to be a local community place but now it’s just awful and it’s the final straw for us.”

She added: “I was raging. It would have been inhumane to not let people sunbathing use the water tap.”

A City of London Corporation spokesperson said: “Public safety is our number one priority. A hose was set up this weekend on the upper meadow and is available for anyone to use during the hot weather.

“The hose can be used to keep cool by having a quick rinse or can be used to fill water bottles.

“Alternatively, there is a public water fountain at Millfield Lane toilet that is approximately 100 metres away from the ladies’ bathing pond. There is a tap on the swimming platform that is used for hosing down. Staff are only allowing swimmers to fill bottles from this tap to manage access to this facility safely.”

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