By Niki Hinman, Local Democracy Reporter
Work is set to start on redeveloping Northcroft Lido in Newbury this summer.
It is going to cost about £5m, and will see the lido size reduced from 72m to a 50m Olympic length pool with a new toddler splash pad and racer slides.
It will also be shallower, at 1.5m, to allow for easier maintenance. And there will be improved changing facilities, including new ones for disabled access.
There will be more changing cubicles around the edge of the pool.
The aim of the project is to increase the duration of the outdoor swimming season from its current ten to twelve weeks per year to a period of six months from Easter through to September.
The investment is projected to increase usage from the current levels of 15 to 20,000 visits per annum to a projected throughput of over 50,000 attendances across the six month opening period
A report to West Berkshire Council’s executive committee this Thursday says the lido will provide further opportunities for physical activity across West Berkshire.
While 77 per cent of adults in West Berkshire are considered physically active, it says 14 per cent (18,000 adults ) in West Berkshire are physically inactive.
Fifty per cent of children in West Berkshire are not currently getting enough physical activity and the lido will present further opportunity for families to increase their levels of physical activity.
The plans for the Northcroft Leisure Centre dry side development will increase the size of the gym and increase the number of exercise studios within phase 2 of the development, costing £4.3m.
A public consultation held last year showed 95 per cent of respondents were supportive of the investment, with a toddler pool, splash pads and slides receiving most support.
The lido is located on a spot which has a tradition of open air swimming in Newbury, and was first built as an unheated pool, approximately 66m x 12m, in August 1870, with two shallow ends and a deep water section in the middle.
It was extended in 1914, and completely rebuilt in 1937, at which point it was believed to be the largest pool in the south of England.
The photo above is from BBC LNPS.