CAMPAIGNERS in Kenilworth continue to urge council chiefs to rethink plans to close the town’s lido and replace it with a second indoor pool.
The group has relaunched its campaign as it becomes increasingly exasperated by continuing delays to Warwick District Council’s (WDC) leisure plan for the area and argues that revamping the existing lido makes more sense economically and environmentally.
The plans for a 15 metre indoor pool, plus sun terrace and cafe, at Castle Farm Recreation Centre, were given the green light in 2021 but, according to the campaign group, contracts have still not been signed.
The campaigners are continuing to fight the decision, stating they would rather see the lido retained at Abbey Fields than have two indoor swimming pools in Kenilworth – a belief which has only been reinforced by the recent warm weather.
The lido was closed at the end of 2021 after a 125 year history which saw generations of locals learn to swim there.
The campaign attracted the attention of paralympic gold medallist Melanie Barratt who said last year it would be “a sad day” when the pool closed for good.
A spokesperson for the campaign group said: “Restoring Kenilworth Lido would cost less financially and environmentally than WDC’s current plans to build two indoor pools.
“Without a large two pool building the cost of materials would be less and construction costs would be lower. A smaller building to heat, light and maintain would bring down ongoing bills as well as reducing the carbon footprint.
“The rapidly growing popularity of outdoor swimming offers wider appeal and better accessibility than yet another indoor pool, making it a unique attraction which would benefit the local economy. With innovative councils such as Hull, Plymouth and Howarth investing millions in the development and restoration of outdoor pools, it seems a backward step to end the long history of safe outdoor swimming in Kenilworth, with all the health and well being benefits it brings”.
WDC anticipate that the new swimming pools may not open until late 2024.
The campaign group recently repeated its willingness to contribute to funding a feasibility study for a modern lido in Abbey Fields, a project which the group argue could be completed sooner.
The indoor pool is part of a multi-million pound plan for a sports hall, gym and fitness studios, as well as a new HQ for local scouts and guides on the site of Castle Farm Recreation Centre, which will be renamed Castle Farm Leisure Centre.
A spokesperson from WDC said: “Warwick District Council is making significant progress with its plans to redevelop Abbey Fields Swimming Pool. There have been delays to the timeline of the project while the council has been in negotiation with contractors to achieve the best value for money, amidst a background of rising building costs and supply chain issues.
“The council appreciates the patience of the public and looks forward to providing the people of Kenilworth with a wonderful new facility, meeting demand for an additional year round pool space, disabled access and a beautiful community setting to enjoy a range of water based activities. The old outdoor swimming pool will not be reopened”.