24th Aug, 2019

Lido scrapped in multi-million pound Kenilworth leisure centre plans

Laura Kearns 13th Aug, 2019 Updated: 13th Aug, 2019

COUNCIL chiefs have rejected calls for a new larger outdoor swimming pool in Kenilworth.

Restore Kenilworth Lido has been campaigning for a full size lido, open all year round, at the Abbey Fields.

But Warwick District Council has today unveiled its multi-million pound plans to revamp leisure facilites in the town following a consultation.

The council is set to replace the existing outdoor pool with a second indoor pool.

Last year the council announced it was set to revamp Abbey Fields and Castle Farm leisure centres and released proposals which caused outcry among some townspeople who did not want to lose the outdoor pool at Abbey Fields.

Following the local elections new council leader Andrew Day called for officers to look at the sustainability and financial impact of the project.

And the new plans have now been revealed.

The Abbey Fields plans look set to cost between £7million and £9million and would include removing both outdoor pools to make way for a second, smaller indoor pool with ‘height-adjustable’ floor which could be used for classes and disability access. It would be surrounded with ‘water toys’ including spray guns and water fountains.

One side of the pool would feature bi-fold doors which could be opened on to a sun terrace overlooking the lake.

There would also be a new cafe built with windows also overlooking the water.

Similarly to Newbold Comyn the changing facilities would be unisex and suitable for families. There would also be group changing rooms for schools.

A ‘changing places’ room would also be built, including a hoist which would come out over the water and lower disabled users in.

While council bosses say they had not ruled out outdoor swimming in the district – with potential sites including the new Tach Brook Country Park between Whitnash and Bishops Tachbrook – they claim keeping a lido in Kenilworth is not viable.

They say the busiest week, during the hottest week of summer, saw 1,500 swimmers, but the quietest on July 8 saw just under 100 take the plunge.

District cultural services spokesman Padraig Herlihy said: “We want the smaller indoor pool to work in winter because that’s what this is about, that’s what these plans will give us that the outdoor pool doesn’t.

“In November and December we can have kids classes in there and in summer it opens up onto the terrace.”

But Restore Kenilworth Lido says it has been left ‘deeply disappointed’ by the proposals.

Group spokesman Martin Seaton said: “Group members are surprised and deeply disappointed to discover that the proposal does not include any provision whatsoever for outdoor swimming on the current site.

“Over the coming days the campaign group will fully assimilate the finer details of the proposal and intends to have some input at next week’s council meetings when it comes under the scrutiny of various internal committees ahead of a final decision. It is hoped councillors of various political groups who pledged their support for the retention of outdoor swimming in Kenilworth during the election will now look very closely at the latest proposal to ensure all avenues are fully explored, make their voices heard and that public opinion is fully represented at the meetings.”

And Castle Farm Leisure Centre set to be knocked down and completely rebuilt under the plans, at a cost of between £10million to £12million.

The 30-year-old building would go from four sports courts – which can be used for the likes of badminton to basketball – to six.

The gym would move to the first floor and increase from 27 stations to 80, but be built in zones in a bid to keep a ‘smaller feeling’. A dance and yoga studio would also be built upstairs along with changing rooms.

The car park would also be extended, which would see the popular boules court move to the opposite site of the building.

Next to the new boules court there would be a patio leading into a sitting area with vending machine.

Council culture head of service Rose Winship said: “What we are trying to give here is facilities for Kenilworth to be proud of and the district to be proud of – we think we achieved that in Warwick and Leamington and now it’s Kenilworth’s turn.”

The proposals will be considered by the council’s executive on August 21.

If the plans are given the green light work could begin next summer and could be completed by autumn 2021.

Visit www.warwickdc.gov.uk to view the report.

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