For the second day in a row it was the hottest day of 2021 on Tuesday, which was the first day of meteorological summer, after a toasty 25.8C was recorded in both Cardiff and Middle Wallop.
Today is expected to be another fine day for many, but thunderstorms are likely across parts of south-west England and south-west Wales, leading the Met Office to issue a yellow weather warning for these areas.
To illustrate yesterday’s temperatures the BBC tweeted some footage of bathers enjoying the warm weather in London at the Sky Pool ‘which is believed to be the world’s first transparent pool built between two skyscrapers.’
How the other half live
What the BBC failed to mention was that if you have invested in one of the ‘affordable homes in the block, you can’t have access to it. A Guardian article published in February looked through the glitz and glamour behind the development.
Describing the Sky Pool Oliver Wainwright wrote: “This is the Sky Pool, the latest addition to the luxury residential enclave of Embassy Gardens in Nine Elms, south-west London – one absurdist step beyond the private cinema, indoor pool, gym and rooftop lounge bar. It was dismissed as a “crackers” PR stunt when the plan was unveiled by Irish developer Ballymore in 2015, a fantastical aquarium of captive high net worth individuals for the rest of us to gawp at from far below.”
Well it is definitely a reality as seen from the footage yesterday.
The article also went on to quote Iqbal. He lives in Embassy Gardens, Iqbal and his neighbours will never enjoy the thrill of going for an aerial dip.
“We have a front-row seat of the Sky Pool.”
However, “the sad thing for us, living in the shared-ownership building, is that we will never have access to it. It’s only there for us to look at, just like the nice lobby, and all of the other facilities for the residents of the private blocks. Nobody expects these amenities for free, but we’re not even given the choice to pay for them.”
For people who do not have the money for a, well, unaffordable home, you don’t get to access through the chic main entrance but in small door out of the way. These are known as ‘poor doors.’
He said: “There’s a reason they’re called ‘poor doors’.
“I grew up in South Africa, in a country that was racially segregated, but in London there is still really bad class segregation. We have a mortgage and we pay our rent, but every day we are made to feel inferior, like the have-nots of Nine Elms.”
A lot of people saw this footage and were appalled.
I’m a Londoner, born and raised. I’ve seen some fucked-up gentrified super fuckery in my time, but this has to be the absolute dumbest shit I’ve ever seen. Honestly, I despair at the big bag of bollocks this godforsaken island has become. Christ.— Cat✌🏽🌱 Ⓥ 💙 (@CatAldgate) June 1, 2021
There’s a mistake in this report.— Dan Palmer (@danpalmer) June 1, 2021
It says “You have to be a resident to use it”, but actually you have to be resident of one of the unaffordable apartments to use it. The residents in the affordable apartments are not allowed to use the pool, or the front door.
BBC broadcaster tastelessly praises vulgar monument to UK’s escalating wealth inequality. https://t.co/OtMisdT3GI— ਜੀਵਨ ਰਾਏ🔻 (@jeevanrai) June 1, 2021
Must be odd living in these particular flats – people swimming along peering in your windows all day long. Like a human aquarium. pic.twitter.com/EBlVNuDUD0— dan barker (@danbarker) June 1, 2021
This pool, at Embassy Gardens in Nine Elms, cannot be accessed by those living in the shared ownership part of the development …. https://t.co/vzRCoENQH5— Vicky Spratt (@Victoria_Spratt) June 1, 2021
This is 5 minutes away from the estate I grew up on in Battersea where the council abandons social housing tenants with damp, silverfish and no central heating in their flats for months but rubber stamps luxury developments like this on our doorstep https://t.co/ZyYCtRWAZR— Jason Okundaye (@jasebyjason) June 1, 2021
Aydin Dikerdem, Labour Councillor for Queenstown, also added a thread on the development and the wasted opportunity.
I see the sky-pool in my ward is trending. So a good opportunity to talk about Nine Elms and the role Wandsworth Tory Council and the then Mayor, Boris Johnson, played in shaping this part of London/ (thread) pic.twitter.com/O2tFeZjARr— Aydin Dikerdem (@AydinDikerdem) June 1, 2021
This former industrial area in the heart of London was an incredible opportunity for a city facing a sever housing crisis. Yet from its inception, Conservative politicians have prioritised the private gain of developers over the public good.— Aydin Dikerdem (@AydinDikerdem) June 1, 2021
A site that would usually require 33-44% affordable housing was reduced to 15% in a bid to ‘attract investors’ and to facilitate the transfer of £266.4m in section 106 money – that would otherwise have been spent on affordable housing – going into the new Northern Line.— Aydin Dikerdem (@AydinDikerdem) June 1, 2021
But surely the new Northern Line is a good thing? Of course, but rather than using Community Infrastructure Levy, or God forbid some govt funding, the Council used Section 106 (a kind of local tax on developers) to fund it.— Aydin Dikerdem (@AydinDikerdem) June 1, 2021
Ostensibly then, this is a huge taxpayer subsidy to improve house prices in a luxury development to pay for a piece of infrastructure Wandsworth residents have no public ownership over at the cost of the desperately needed social housing that makes regenerating the area worth it!— Aydin Dikerdem (@AydinDikerdem) June 1, 2021
That’s why what’s happened here is so upsetting. We’re never again going to have all this abandoned industrial space which could’ve transformed the lives of people in a borough where thousands are statutorily homeless or spending half their income on private rent.— Aydin Dikerdem (@AydinDikerdem) June 1, 2021
There was once a world where you could build riverside council homes. If you look across the river from Battersea Power Station you’ll see the post-war Churchill Gardens Estate, a testament to an era in which council and key worker housing was prioritised and invested in.— Aydin Dikerdem (@AydinDikerdem) June 1, 2021