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Construction of Thamesmead boating club completes

We’re celebrating another milestone in our long-term regeneration of Thamesmead, after leading London and South East contractors Durkan completed the construction of a new boating club at Southmere Lake on 28 November 2022.

The completion of the building in South Thamesmead is part of Peabody’s plan to bring about thousands of new homes and jobs, new leisure and cultural facilities, improvements to the natural landscape, and a wealth of opportunities for local people across the town.  

The boating club will be run by YMCA Thames Gateway Group who are also managing the café and early years nursery in the adjacent Lakeside Centre. The youth charity will from spring 2023 kick off a varied programme of sailing and kayaking activities throughout the year, primarily for local schools and other young people in the area. Plans include:  

  • a term time programme for schools, colleges and youth groups  
  • school holiday activities  
  • pay and play open sessions and open days. 

The new building, designed by Architecture 00, is a striking addition to Southmere Lake. Finished in steel cladding it will reflect the lake and the park, and blend into the natural landscape. The facility complements our £2.5m improvement works at Southmere Lake in recent years, undertaken to improve water quality, increase biodiversity and encourage people to make the most of the local landscape. 

Measures include the introduction of reed beds and the installation of a 23m water fountain, as well as wooden viewing platforms and new nature trails on the lakeside. 

Matthew Foulis, Peabody’s Project Director for Thamesmead, said: “Southmere Lake is a much-loved part of the local community and a real asset to Thamesmead. We’re therefore really excited to provide a new sailing club to enable local people to keep active and have fun on the water. Providing great facilities and well-run activities are part of our plan to help people make the most of the fantastic natural assets in Thamesmead. We can’t wait to see local people getting out on to lake and enjoying even more of what this town has to offer.” 

Tim Carpenter, Managing Director of Construction at Durkan, said: “We’re delighted to be handing over the newly-built boating club for Thamesmead residents to enjoy. Community is very much at the heart of what we do. We’re not just building new facilities, we’re creating communities for the future and that means investing in educational and recreational opportunities for people in the areas in which we work. 

"Post pandemic we’re all much more aware of the benefits that time outdoors and proximity to nature can deliver for both physical and mental wellbeing. We’re looking forward to seeing local people use the boating club and enjoy it for years to come.” 

Samantha Latouche, Director of Communities for YMCA Thames Gateway Group, said: “We’re really excited about extending our presence in Thamesmead and providing this fantastic service, which complements our organisational health and wellbeing focus. We’re planning on starting off with canoeing, kayaking and paddle-boarding before we progress our offer to sailing, holiday clubs and birthday parties. There’s so much potential for wider community engagement – from job opportunities to volunteering – and we’re delighted that Peabody have put their faith is us once again.” 

The boating club sits across the lake from the first phase of our seven-phase masterplan for South Thamesmead. Due to complete this year and constructed by Durkan, the initial phase includes 534 new homes (of which 55 per cent are affordable), a new public square (Cygnet Square), state-of-the-art library with community facilities (The Nest), commercial space for shops, services and cafes, and outstanding public realm.  

More information about the boating club will be available on YMCA Thames Gateway Group’s website from early 2023. 

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