Plans for a multi-million-pound 'upgrade' of Abbey Fields Swimming Pool in Kenilworth have been given the green light.
Following approval for Warwick District Council’s plans by the authority's planning committee yesterday evening (September 14), work is set to start early next year to create a brand-new facility.
This will include the addition of a second indoor pool with an adjoining sun terrace as well as a new ‘National Trust style’ café which can be accessed by park users.
But the work also includes the closure and removal of the facility's outdoor swimming pool, which campaigners have fought hard for to remain as part of the plans.
Warwick District Council’s portfolio holder for culture, tourism and leisure, Cllr Liam Bartlett said: “This really is great news for the people of Kenilworth and the whole district and we are delighted that we can now move forward with our plans to transform an old and outdated facility into something far more in keeping with its magnificent backdrop.
“The additional year-round pool space will help to meet the demand locally for more swimming lessons and will be welcomed by schools and swimming clubs, as well as less confident swimmers, organisers of children’s parties and disabled users.”
The designs for the new pool follow consultation with specialists and advice from Swim England and will have a moveable floor allowing the water depth to be altered in a matter of minutes to meet the needs of young children, parents and babies or aqua aerobics sessions.
There will also be direct pool access via a hoist from a ‘Changing Place’ facility for the disabled, the first of its kind in the district.
Parent and ambassador for Changing Place facilities Emily Naismith said: “This is a milestone for the local disabled community and I and others in a similar situation can’t wait to be able to take our whole family swimming with ease for the very first time."
Everyone Active, is the company which manages the pool and other leisure centres on behalf of the district council
Gareth Wagg, the company's contract manager for the area, said: “We are really excited that the new plans for Abbey Fields Swimming Pool will now be realised, allowing us to expand our swimming lesson programmes and sessions.
"Water activities are hugely beneficial for a variety of health conditions, and the new site will allow us to enable access to those who have previously been unable to use the facilities.
"We would like to assure all our customers and members that they will be able to use the other Everyone Active managed centres across the region, during the period when the Kenilworth facilities are closed.”
While supporting swimming facilities being upgraded, The Kenilworth Lido Campaign group wanted a "proper study" into the overall feasibility of a modern lido in the town before these plans were approved.
They had also wanted the current lido to re-open during the summer but the district council decided not to do so with Cllr Bartlett citing Covid restrictions and repair and operating costs as the main reasons for this.The campaign group against the closure of the lido will be making a statement today - we will bring you their comments when we get them.