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Newbury Lido, at Northcroft Leisure Centre, has reopened to the public after a £5.7m refit and includes new slides and a splash park

The Newbury Lido has reopened to the public after a £5.7m refit.

But the council has already come under fire on social media for the cost of entry.

It costs £10 per adult and £7.50 per child or £35 for a family of four.

The costs have been defended by the portfolio holder for leisure, Janine Lewis (Lib Dem Tilehurst and Purley).

"I'd be happy to pay that as a parent for three hours of entertainment," she said.

"What else can you do for £35? Even if the weather was poor you can still go and enjoy it."

She has also been asked why the pool can't be open in the winter months.

The facility has undergone a complete transformation to extend the outdoor swimming season from ten to twelve weeks per year from April through to the end of September.

"I'm quite a keen open water swimmer, so I'm interested in this," she added.

Executive member for leisure Janine Lewis and leader of West Berkshire Council, Lee Dillon, officially open the lido
Executive member for leisure Janine Lewis and leader of West Berkshire Council, Lee Dillon, officially open the lido

"We can turn the heating off, that's not an issue. But we have a water board licence to use a certain amount of water which we can't go above. It is something we can review for future years."

The lido was due to open in June, and was orignally budgeted at £5m. Inflation was blamed for the additional £700k costs.

"I still think it can be better," added Ms Lewis. "I've seen some comments on social media which are quite critical. There are some valid points about the accessiblity.

"One mother said she didn't care for the hoist, which she felt was degrading.

"Another family with a child in a wheelchair asked why there isn't wheelchair access into the pool. So I've raised these ideas, although we will have to find some funding. Otherwise how can you say this is a facilitiy for everybody?"

The pool has been reduced from 72m to a 50m Olympic length pool, making room for a new interactive splash pad and slides, plus a decking area and colourful beach huts.

The spiral flume is nearly six metres high, with the racer slides around three metres high.

The pool has also been made shallower with a new depth of 0.9m-1.58m.

Existing buildings have been improved and accessible changing facilities are in place.

The lido was first built as an unheated pool in 1870, extended in 1914, and completely rebuilt in 1937, at which point it was believed to be the largest pool in the south of England.

"I love it and the work is admirable," added Ms Lewis, who also paid graceful tributes to her Tory predecessor Howard Woollaston for having a "terrific vision for the Lido".

"It has a lovely Mediteranean feel to it."

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