Nick Clegg at the Lido

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Tuesday 8 July 2008 10.14pm
Re: today's story about Nick Clegg visiting the Lido on Union Street.

Now, I can see the Lido from my window and have been watching its progress steadily for several weeks. So how come I knew nothing about this debate? Why weren't local residents invited if, as Clegg says, "Shared space is vital in fostering the bonds that create happy communities," and that communities need "to get more involved in participatory planning processes."

Incidentally, I think the Lido is lovely and fun, but at no point were we invited to participate in creating it. Which rather negates the supposed purpose of the Lido, which is, in Clegg's words about encouraging "participatory planning". To quote him, it's "Not just coming up with an idea and asking communities if they like it. But actually engaging them at an early stage in developing the whole concept of what is to be built, and how it will work."

We weren't even asked if we liked the idea of the Lido - it was just foisted upon us. I have nothing against this project by EXYZT (a French collective with no prior connection, so far as we know, to SE1). But it annoys me tha the first we knew about the Lido was being invited to a barbecue there after they had started building it - how community minded of them!

Sorry, but the whole London Festival of Architecture thing leaves a sour taste in my mouth - it just seems to be about branding the area as vibrant and creative - in order to ramp up land prices for the landowner. I also wonder where the funding for this type of thing comes from - involves a fair wodge of tax payers' money, no doubt.

Any thoughts, anyone?

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Wednesday 9 July 2008 6.49am
Wot Lido? Never heard of it. Do tell.
Wednesday 9 July 2008 7.13am
It's a temporary thing that has been built on some unused land on Union Street for the London Festival of Architecture. It's only around until 13 July, I think.

Take a look at the pics in the story on the main page. The word 'lido' makes it sound rather grander than it is - it's more of a kids' paddling pool, to be honest. But it would be quite a nice place to hang out on a hot day (I feel rather sorry for the guys that have spent the past three weeks building it - they clearly weren't told about the British weather!)

Oh, and an addendum to my original post - if this weren't just a big (failed) PR stunt by the Lib Dems, why wasn't Simon Hughes invited? He was very supportive when locals were defending the beautiful little garden right near the Lido and is our local MP, so would have been a much more appropriate person to bang on about community involvement. Clearly sidelined for the big, photogenic guy!
Thursday 10 July 2008 1.27pm
I think the reason why this was not directed at local residents is because it has nothing to do with SE1. The Lido seems based on a project exhibited by a French team at the latest architecture biennale in Venice. I'm not an architest, so feel free to correct me. I went to the Lido and thought it was great fun (the kids liked it) although I suspect that the trendy chaps who are running it (and live on site apparently) are having the best time of all...apart from the deluge on Wednesday.

Is there any love lost between Simon Hughes and Nick Clegg?
Thursday 10 July 2008 1.41pm
Nothing lost between me and either of them...both useless...although 1 is slightly less publicty grabbing than the other if that makes a difference.
Friday 11 July 2008 8.02am
After I went to the (wrong) meeting yesterday, the compensation was that we were invited to go to the bash at the Lido...really rather good fun, and very matey. And the BEST bit was that I MET AND KISSED JAMES'S FATHER.....such an honour I just cant get over it. Indeed will post a separate thread on my moment of glory!
Friday 11 July 2008 12.43pm
I haven't been to visit the finished site yet - though did have a look over with the architects at an early stage. May pop in this evening to have a look as it's just "down the road".

But does anyone know what time it closes tonight???

Yesterday, I believe (printed on their advertising "bumph", it was meant to close at 9pm, but their very loud music + shouting went on until 11:30pm! Not very community minded of them really. I'm sure those living opposite on Union Street had a horrid evening - unless, of course, they were at the party.

Is it just an architects' "thing" - not caring or fitting in with their surroundings or community? I'm a bit grumpy from lack of sleep.

Anyone know what time it closes tonight?
Saturday 12 July 2008 8.42am
froggy wrote:
I think the reason why this was not directed at local residents is because it has nothing to do with SE1.

Which makes it all the more galling that all their publicity bangs on about "community space".

Mini Haha - I live opposite the Lido but thankfully was away on Thursday night so missed the racket. But yes, they do seem to have responded to the awful weather by giving up on the lido idea in favour of a nightclub!
Saturday 12 July 2008 10.31am


"Which makes it all the more galling that all their publicity bangs on about "community space."


As someone who has to apply for arts funding on a regular basis I can confirm that the simple truth is, unless you say your work (which is always personally motivated but of course always takes place in the community arena, however obliquely) is connecting with the local environment and its people, any application will generally be given short shrift and weeded out pretty quickly. Artists have always been aware of this and feel obliged to 'play' the community angle accordingly, in a somewhat cynical fashion unfortunately, in order to promote their own eg... errm, work. I'm guilty of this as much as the next, however I do attempt to make my work about the community, rather than tack it on as an afterthought. As ever with architectural practice, its big on the theory, but usually ill-fitting on the ground.
Friday 16 January 2009 12.48pm
There's going to be a book about the Lido - details here

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