Mr Sesnan, Greenwich Councillors,
Over the last couple of years, the re-opening of the Lido is one of the very best things that has happened to Charlton. We're not the most famous or fashionable town in South East London, but Charlton residents are justifiably proud of many things: our green space, our diverse community, and now our Lido. We know how lucky we are to have a very rare thing - a heated outdoor 50 metre pool - and how close we came to losing our lido altogether before the intervention of the ODA, Greenwich Council, the Mayor of London and your organisation, Mr Sesnan, GLL.
However it seems that you have plans to rename the Lido to 'Royal Greenwich Lido, Charlton', and your spokeswoman has explained to the News Shopper newspaper that you hope that the name change will help you attract visitors from further afield, and that the name change will reflect the heritage of the area. No consultation with local users or residents has taken place before you decided to change the name. This is a particular shame as it's only down to the efforts of volunteers drawn from local residents and local swimming associations that the pool survives to this day at all.
The name of the lido is important to local residents because we're proud of it, and we're proud of living in Charlton. Changing the name to 'Royal Greenwich Lido, Charlton', and particularly for the reasons you've given, gives the impression that you see the pool's location in Charlton as a handicap to its chances for success, that our town and our community are not a good enough brand for the revamped pool, and that we only have value as a part of the Royal Borough of Greenwich. We don't feel that way. Charlton residents have a great record in supporting our local amenities when they're under threat - you only have to look at the success of the Back to the Valley campaign of the 1990s to see that - and it would be wrong to try to hide the connection that we feel with the Lido.
But it's not just about the slight to our pride. Putting 'Greenwich' so prominently in the new name will confuse the new swimmers that we all want to attract to the pool. You'd be understandably disappointed to find you had to travel another half-hour on public transport from Greenwich to get to a 'Greenwich' pool. We'd all like to emulate the success of other open-air pools in London, but we recognise that because the pool has only recently re-opened we have a way to go. We notice that none of the other successful lidos in London are named after their boroughs: Brockwell Lido is a roaring success despite not being called Lambeth Lido, and Tooting Bec Lido is much loved despite not being Wandsworth Lido.
Please reconsider this unnecessary and unwanted change of name. Our swimming pool is called Charlton Lido because it's in Charlton, and that has never stopped people supporting the Lido and fighting for its success before now.