Work begins to create a new waterplay on Clapham Common

Work is set to begin this month on a state-of-the-art waterplay facility to replace the old Clapham Common paddling pool, which has been a popular destination since the 1950s but is no longer fit for purpose. 

The new 535sq m waterplay will feature some 40 multi-function water jets to provide a sensory experience for children of all ages, as well as fully accessible and child-friendly toilets, and cycle parking.

Lambeth Council and the Clapham Common MAC are working in partnership to deliver this important community project. It forms part of Lambeth Council’s nearly £1 million investment in a number of improvements across Clapham Common this year. 

The free-to-use waterplay is expected to open in the summer of 2023, just in time for the summer holidays. Design and build is led by specialist waterplay contractor Ustigate.

Cllr Rezina Chowdhury, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Lambeth & Clean Air, commented on the new facility:

“This new waterplay facility is an exciting addition to Clapham Common and an example of Lambeth Council’s commitment to investing in sustainable, community-focused initiatives. We’re delighted that this project will provide accessible and inclusive water play for children of all abilities, as well as an opportunity for families and visitors to come together and enjoy the green spaces of the borough.”

Simon Millson, Chair of the Clapham Common MAC, said: 

“Over the years, many people who grew up in Clapham will have fond memories of splashing about in the old paddling pool. It is time however to replace the disused paddling pool with a modern and exciting new waterplay – one which young people can enjoy for many years to come and create new childhood memories.” 

Some 614 people responded in an extensive public consultation last year with 95% supporting the proposed scheme. Over 800 comments were submitted which helped shape the final design of the scheme. 

Artist’s impression of the new waterplay

The waterplay facility will be fully accessible to all children, including those with physical, developmental and sensory disabilities. It will provide a rest and active play space for children and their parents or carers, particularly for those who do not have access to outdoor space at home.

The waterplay will feature an environmentally considerate and energy-efficient re-circulating water system to power the jet network. The design was selected in response to community needs and priorities and constitutes an efficient and creative use of the existing disused paddling pool space to provide an enjoyable rest and play area for children and their parents or carers, ensuring full accessibility throughout.