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20th Jun, 2021

Lido campaigners say outdoor pool could be closest some residents get to a holiday

AN OUTDOOR pool could be the closest Kenilworth residents get to a holiday this year say lido campaigners.

The claim follows news of a review being undertaken by Warwick District Council on potentially reopening the lido at Abbey Fields Leisure Centre over summer.

Restore Kenilworth Lido has been campaigning for a full size lido, open all year round, at the leisure centre. But, in 2019, calls were rejected by Warwick District Council (WDC) which claimed it would not be financially viable or sustainable to do so. Instead, the authority unveiled multi-million pound plans to replace the existing outdoor pool with a second indoor one.

But it says both Abbey Fields pools could be reopened this summer, ahead of the planned redevelopment.

While the campaign group is positive about the news, it says the council should have opened the pool earlier so families could have spent quality time outdoors.

A spokesperson said: “While the district council review the situation, last week was half term for many children in the area. The sun was shining and had it been open, the outdoor pool would have been a popular choice for many families looking to enjoy some quality time together outside.

“For some, spending time at the outdoor pool this summer will be as near as they get to a holiday. If the pool remains closed, the council will have missed an opportunity to generate some much needed revenue and support the mental and physical wellbeing of the community.”

The group believes barriers to opening the lido could have been avoided if maintenance had been kept up on existing facilities, regardless of redevelopment plans.

The spokesperson added: “We cautiously welcome the announcement the council is reviewing the viability and feasibility of opening the outdoor pool for a short period over the summer, but would point out that some of the issues raised as a barrier to opening the pool could have been avoided if the maintenance programme had not been allowed to slip during the height of the pandemic.

“We question why the necessary maintenance and repairs have not been carried out. The plans for the Abbey Fields Leisure Development have not yet been granted planning permission, and many objections have been raised on the planning portal which may delay or even halt the granting of planning permission. In the meantime, the council has a duty to maintain the facilities that it operates, and is currently repainting the men’s changing rooms but the outdoor pool has been left to fall into disrepair.”

While it is disappointed it was not reopened sooner, the group remains on hand to support WDC in the potential move.

Warwick District Council leader Andrew Day says ‘careful consideration’ is being given to the potential reopening of the lido on June 21 – the government’s final step to easing restrictions.

He adds: “Initial inspections have revealed that extensive repairs are required to return the outdoor pool to a safe operating condition, following an extended period of closure. In addition to this expense, we will also weigh-up the additional operating costs, taking into account the daily footfall during comparable seasons in previous years, to assess the public benefit of reopening the outdoor pool.

“Guided by advice from Swim England, our priority continues to be the safe operating of the indoor pool, allowing as much availability as possible for children to learn the important life skill of being able to swim.”

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