Outdoor pool in Kenilworth could re-open for a 'short period' this summer

A review by Warwick District Council is currently underway to see if the council can cover the costs of repairing and running the outdoor pool so it can re-open after the next step of the Government's road map out of lockdown on June 21

The outdoor swimming pool at Abbey Fields in Kenilworth.

The "feasibility and viability" of reopening Abbey Fields outdoor pool in Kenilworth for a short period during the summer is being reviewed by Warwick District Council (WDC).

Initial proposals, prepared in consultation with Everyone Active, to reopen both Abbey Fields pools ahead of the planned redevelopment are being reconsidered. The indoor pool reopened on 12 April and has been popular, particularly for swimming lessons as children return to the water after lockdown.

The Leader of Warwick District Council, Councillor Andrew Day commented: “Ahead of the anticipated announcement about the next unlocking step on the Government’s Roadmap, scheduled for 21 June, careful consideration is being given to the preparations required to safely reopen the outdoor pool.

"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.”

The Kenilworth Lido Campaign Group has raised concerns about the re-opening of the outdoor swimming pool in what could be the last season before the facility is removed.

The campaign group's members wrote to all Warwick district councillors in February asking for WDC to make every effort to ready the outdoor pool for 'what may turn out to be its final season of use' if the plans to demolish it later in the year are approved by the authority.

The group has now called on WDC to "make its intentions clear and recognise the importance of outdoor swimming, particularly as COVID restrictions may curtail the holiday plans of local families".

Group chairwoman Ruth Colgan said: "It is particularly frustrating to see other UK Lidos making every effort to open early this year, including Woodgreen Leisure Centre in Banbury run by Legacy Leisure on behalf of Cherwell District Council, to allow people to enjoy the known health benefits of outdoor swimming while WDC seems content to stall on the issue.

"It is illogical that the council can now open the indoor pool prior to its demolition, but not, it seems, the outdoor pool."

Many of the numerous objections to the plans for the Abbey Fields site urged WDC to rethink its plans for the outdoor pool.

Ruth added: "Should WDC’s plans come to fruition it would be a crying shame to deny people the opportunity of swimming outdoors one last time in what would be 125th year of open air swimming in Abbey Fields."