Otley Lido will re-open to swimmers for the first time in 30 years after crowdfunding campaign raises £53,000

The Friends of Otley Lido have confirmed that the outdoor pool is likely to re-open after they raised the necessary funds for initial surveying work to go ahead.

Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 4:09 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 4:10 pm

A Crowdfunder campaign launched last month in a 'now or never' bid for investment has succeeded and met its £53,00 target with days to spare.

Although the amount is far from the total cost of the project, it allows the Friends group to pay for the site surveys needed to take it to the planning stage - meaning they will now be eligible to apply for grants to cover the rest.

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The Friends of Otley Lido celebrate meeting their £53,000 target

Leeds City Council still own the site near Wharfemeadows Park and have already offered a lease with free rent for 125 years so that the pool can re-open on a not-for-profit basis.

It will be heated, have a retractable roof, restaurant with river terrace and 'high-end' gym which will generate the revenue needed to support the lido as a community facility.

The lido closed in the early 1990s after a pumping fault was never fixed and the council directed resources to indoor pools instead, but the site was never fully cleared and the outline of the pool remains alongside the original buildings. It first opened in 1924.

The Friends group started their campaign to restore it following the Boxing Day floods of 2015, but struggled to meet funding targets until this autumn, when they declared they were working towards their goal for the final time and would disband if the push was not successful.

The derelict pool and buildings

An announcement from the group said: "We've done it with five days to spare! We are overwhelmed with all the support that has come in over the whole campaign and are beyond grateful to EVERYONE that has contributed to help us bring back the lido Our total currently stands at roughly £53,500."

More information on the next phase will be released in the coming days.

The plans are for a carbon-neutral venue with sustainable heat sources - under consideration are a hydroelectric scheme utilising the river, solar panels, geothermal energy and even using gym equipment to generate electricity. The reinstated pool would still be 30 metres and fully heated, with a retractable roof and changing rooms on the ground floor which can be easily cleaned in case of future flood events.

The Friends are acutely aware of the needs of different user groups, and plan to use the lido to address long waiting lists for children's swimming lessons in the area. The pool would be used by schools, elderly people, triathlon clubs, divers, adult lane swimmers and those with disabilities at designated sessions.

Sport England and Otley Town Council have both offered support grants that were dependent on the target being met. Other pledges from local businesses and individuals will also now be activated.