London’s first floating swimming pool could be coming to the Thames

London’s first floating swimming pool could be coming to a dock on the River Thames.

Tower Hamlets Council is considering licencing a warm water “landscape lagoon” and spa on a converted barge in West India Quay, east London, this month.

Developer and bodywork therapist Nico Thoemmes said Londoners and visitors would benefit from cold water therapy and relaxation on board the Water Cures spa, but some residents have said they are worried about noise.

Mr Thoemmes, who lives on a canal boat in London, said the proposed 25 to 30 metre long outdoor pool on the top deck of a triple storey barge is partly inspired by similar facilities in Europe.

He said visitors could also enjoy natural therapies and treatments, a sauna, food served on the lower deck, cultural events including yoga sessions and live acoustic music on board from 6am until 11pm.

Mr Thoemmes added the naturally-filtered pool would be split into three sections of different temperatures to stimulate the body, a swimming zone, a “cold plunge” and a hot zone.

“I live on a small boat and I didn’t have any room for a bath, so I have one outside,” he said.

“The juxtaposition between the two temperatures I find is really amazing.

“That started off an interest in the sauna and cold plunge pool, and how useful it can be for sleep and mental well-being.

“Cold water swimming can also be a treatment for depression.

“My experience of taking people for a cold dip and sauna is extremely exhilarating.

“The concept started quite small, as a sauna and cold swimming pool, then it’s grown over the last three years.”

Floating lido plans
Councillors are considering the application (DesignVis/PA)

Mr Thoemmes, who also founded Morning Gloryville, which hosts morning raves with non-alcoholic smoothies and yoga as an alternative to gym sessions and clubbing, said if it is granted planning permission, he hopes the pool could open by summer 2022.

Architect Chris Romer-Lee said he has also been “desperately looking” to set up a barge lido in London for six years with his company Studio Octopi, and warned the project may fall through.

He said difficulties in finding the perfect spot and gaining planning permission has stopped his company beginning construction so far, despite strong public support and raising £142,000 through crowdfunding site Kickstarter.

Independent councillor for Canary Wharf, Andrew Wood, said he supports the idea of the outdoor lido but is worried about noise for those living in “158 apartments directly above the location”.

He said: “In principle, we like the idea of being able to swim in the fresh air, and we understand there aren’t many swimming pools in the area, but there are apartments directly above it.

“We suffer a lot in this area from noise, and we’re slightly worried that rather than people swimming up and down quietly it will be a party location.”

Gillian Waddell, spokesperson for the Outdoor Swimming Society, said al-fresco swimming is “enjoying a huge boom” in recent years because of “the huge mental benefits that come with it.”

She said: “We find it full of opportunity for joyful experiences and community camaraderie.

“I can’t imagine it’s ever before been as popular as it is today.

“The barge on the Thames sounds like an exciting opportunity for outdoor swimmers.”

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