Hundreds of marginal and aquatic plants are being delivered to the site of the UK’s first public natural swimming pond at Kings Cross, where they will be planted by expert pool constructors Kingcombe Aquacare Ltd ahead of its planned opening to the public later this spring.
Kingcombe is a UK partner of BIOTOP, Europe’s leading constructor of natural swimming pools and ponds. The Kingcombe team has been working on the construction of the 411 m2 swimming pond in conjunction with the King’s Cross Development Partnership, and contractors Carillion since November 2014.
The natural bathing pond has been designed as an art installation entitled Of Soil and Water: King’s Cross Pond Club and it sits in the centre of the King’s Cross development site. The original concept for the swimming pond was created by Ooze Architects (Eva Pfannes & Sylvain Hartenberg) and artist Marjetica Potrč. The installation aims to make people think about the relationship between nature and the urban environment – the permanence of buildings and the changing nature of undeveloped spaces.
As with all BIOTOP’s natural pool designs, the pond will be completely chemical-free and the water will be purified by a specially designed 180+ m2 planted regeneration zone, supported by BIOTOP’s patented filter and animal-friendly skimmer system.
Over the last few weeks Kingcombe has been carrying out the final balancing tests on the water’s natural nutrient content. The team is now completing the planting which plays a vital role in the pond’s natural filtration. The plants, many of which are still dormant at this stage, include hundreds of oxygenating plants such as Elodea Canadensis, Lagorosiphon major (Curly waterweed) and Myriophyllum spicatum (Water Milfoil). Also featuring are two species of Phragmites communis (Norfolk Reed) , ornamental Iris pseudacorus (Flag Iris) and species of water lilies Nuphar lutea (Brandy Bottle) and the white Nymphaea Alba.
The majority of the plants are being planted bare root to ensure they don’t bring additional nutrients into the water. Others will be planted in the margins in special pots which fertilise the plants without enriching the water, to avoid the development of algae.
Kingcombe Aquacare Ltd, based in Crewkerne in Somerset, has been a BIOTOP selected partner for five years. The company is recognised as a centre of excellence for all aspects of construction, restoration, maintenance and management for projects involving water. Chairman John Colton, said: “The Kings Cross Pond project has gone extremely well and we are delighted to be completing the final stages now with the all-important planting. The plants will take time to establish fully but we hope by mid-summer swimmers will be able to enjoy the array of beautiful plants and also the variety of insects and wildlife that the planted zone will attract. We hope this high profile site at Kings Cross will demonstrate the many benefits of natural swimming ponds to a wider audience and we hope this is the first of many public natural swimming ponds to develop across the UK.”
Final details of the pond opening later in Spring will be announced soon, but it is anticipated the chemical free pool will be able to accommodate over 169 bathers.
More details about the project can be found www.kingscross.co.uk/kings-cross-pond-club