THE REVIEW over Kenilworth lido’s potential reopening was ‘superfluous’, say campaigners after district leaders announced it would remain closed.
The Lido Campaign Group says it is ‘immensely disappointed’ after Warwick District Council (WDC) revealed it would not reopen the outdoor pool at Abbey Fields Leisure Centre this summer.
Last month the authority advised it was considering temporarily reopening the outdoor pool ahead of a planned redevelopment, but the review was put on hold following the extension of Covid safety measures to July 19 – which the group claimed was just an excuse.
WDC leisure spokesman Liam Bartlett said the council had weighed up factors around Covid safety and repair and operating costs against the predicted footfall of the summer season. It had also considered priorities around swimming lessons which had seen a recent surge.
He added: “In contrast to lidos found in other areas of the country, the layout and the condition of the Kenilworth outdoor pool built in the 1980s, does not lend itself to the type of swimming session the majority of users are currently seeking.
“Therefore, in the coming weeks, our priority will continue to be the safe running of the indoor facility. The most recent government announcement also now means the local community can enjoy the centre’s facilities without many of the previous operational restrictions in place.”
But the group is now asking why the outdoor pool was not maintained and why government funding received by the authority specifically for leisure facilities was not used for the lido.
Campaign chair Ruth Colgan said: “This rather suggests to us that the decision to not reopen the pool was taken some time ago and that the review was superfluous.
“We would agree with Councillor Bartlett’s statement that the kidney shape and size of the current outdoor pool does not lend itself to the type of swimming session the majority of users of such a facility are seeking.
“Furthermore, since WDC’s two indoor pool model was first proposed in 2018, the provision of swimming pools and swimming lessons in the area has increased significantly. There are around 16 indoor pools offering lessons within a six mile radius of Abbey Fields.
“In contrast, the nearest lido is over 20 miles away. And of course, Covid has changed the way in which users wish to take exercise.”
The group is calling on the council to conduct a study over the feasibility of a modern lido in Kenilworth.
Ruth added: “This year we have already seen two near-record breaking heat waves, an urgent public health need for people to take more exercise in safe outdoor spaces, and a growing national demand for the lido experience which is so much more than just swimming.
“The outdoor pool is located within a site that already has all the infrastructure needed to offer safe swimming. So why is a much needed municipal resource lying empty and neglected this summer?”