Gedling Villages News

Council fears another life could be lost at Colwick Country Park lake after last heatwave made location look like ‘an Ibiza festival’

Colwick Country Park Lake
PICTURED: The lake at Colwick Country Park

A council is warning another life could be lost at Colwick Country Park as sun-seekers continue to swim in a lake where two people have died in the last three years.

The councillor in charge of open spaces for Nottingham fears a July heatwave will see more people go to the park to enjoy the sunshine and put their lives at risk by swimming in the open water.

Red flags are being put up around the lake, resembling those normally placed at beaches, to warn people of the dangerous currents.

There will also be new signs after the previous boards warning people of the dangers of open swimming were torn down.

The council said it has become a top location for young people, including students, to meet and that the June heatwave made it look like “an Ibiza festival”.

Councillor Rosemary Healy, Nottingham City Council lead member for parks and open spaces, said young people had been seen relaxing on the dangerous lake in large inflatables.

She said the park was seeing its busiest-ever summer, with people arriving at lunchtime and not leaving until 10pm.

There have been accidental three deaths in the last three years from people swimming in open water in Nottingham, including two at Colwick Park and one on the River Trent.

Colwick Country Park Lake
PICTURED: The lake at Colwick Country Park

There was also ‘a near-miss’ at Colwick Park when a young boy found himself in trouble but was saved by a lifeguard.

Cllr Healy said: “I am hearing that a lot of people are drawn to open water swimming particularly young people and we are very concerned about the risks of this.

“Open water is different from normal swimming in a pool or the sea particularly if people have been drinking alcohol. I was surprised myself at how dangerous it is with the currents under the water.

“Four hundred people on average drown across the UK every year and some of these will have been strong swimmers who have been faced with an unusual situation.

“In June, during the heatwave, at Colwick Country Park, there was a mass of young people coming down in Ubers with lots of alcohol.

“I am really afraid of there being another death.

“We want people to have these conversations with friends and family over the dangers of open water swimming.”

The exact dates for the forecast UK heatwave – with temperatures expected to rise to 27C – have been identified as July 16 to July 23.

She said due to Colwick Country Park being open countryside it would be impossible to fence the area off to stop people swimming.

But there could be an increase in community protection officers if the beauty spot becomes overcrowded in July and people start swimming in the lake.

Cllr Healy added: “Our water is a lot cooler than other places in the world and renders you motionless because your body goes into shock. It is just not worth it.

“Open water swimming is not illegal so you can’t physically drag them out. It is also open country so you can’t fence off the lake and if people are determined then they will get over fencing.”

Speaking about why so many people are swimming in the lake, she said: “We have to realise that people can’t go on holiday this year, so people are creating a holiday atmosphere in our own city.

“This is a wonderful thing to do but it creates some issues for us in terms of rubbish and the staffing needed to ensure safety.”