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£5m revamp for Newbury lido as West Berkshire Council approves plans

The lido in Newbury will get a £5m refurb after the council approved the plans last night (Thursday).

But it will be closed this summer for the works to get underway - with plans to open it in 2023.

Officials will push through an early planning application which will see the pool open for six months of the year, have racer slides, water fountains, a new cafe and a toddler splash pad.

New plans for Newbury Lido
New plans for Newbury Lido

The pool will be reduced in length to 50m - the length of an Olympic swimming pool. A move welcomed by the district’s swimming clubs.

The district council's executive committe heard that the pool had not had any significant investment since 1960 when it last had a make over. It was built in 1870.

It is hoped to increase the number of visitors from 20,000 to 50,000 a year.

Northcroft Leisure Centre Lido
Northcroft Leisure Centre Lido

Howard Woollaston (Con, Lambourn), West Berkshire’s executive member for leisure and culture, says: “This is very exciting news! We had a great response from local people and now we’re in a position to move forward with the improvement plan, making the best of this unique facility for future generations.”

The new pool will be designed to reduce the level of maintenance needed - the current pool is filled via bore holes and via the water table. The new pool will have a tank, and the depth will be reduced to 1.5m across the whole length.

Lee Dillon (Lib Dem, Thatcham North) said: “I grew up using the lido as a kid. The whole of West Berkshire gets to benefit from it. Looking forward to it being open and having a swim.”

Contracts will now be issued to move to the planning stage.

Council leader Lynn Doherty (Con, Speen) added: “It will attract people from all over. Some authorities are closing lidos - but we are investing in it. Outdoor swimming is growing in popularity.

"I sat round it as a teenage and have very fond memories. It is disappointing that residents can’t use it this summer but the long term future of six months of use a year is great. I look forward in the future to taking grandchildren there!”

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