Kenilworth Lido Campaign
Campaign to stop the closure of the outdoor pool at Abbey Fields and replace the 'fun shaped pool' with a 25m rectangular heated Lido open all year round for the whole community.
What are we campaigning for ?
21st Century indoor and outdoor swimming facilities for the residents of Kenilworth and the wider area.
This campaign wholeheartedly supports the refurbishment of the indoor pool, but just imagine alongside it, a 25m heated outdoor pool, open all year round with special events for sports enthusiasts and families, a training site for triathletes and a venue for unique cultural events. This would be a brilliant amenity for people of all ages in Kenilworth and across the Midlands now and for future generations. Detailed plans have been drawn up by a local architect that show this is possible but this option was never put to the people of Kenilworth.
The happy memories of days out splashing in the pool and relaxing in the surrounding park will not show up on the balance sheets any more than the civic identity which such a facility gives.
What have we done so far
We actively participated in the consultation and provided a voice for people in Kenilworth who want to retain outdoor swimming and have improved facilities for indoor and outdoor swimmers.
Since the decision on the 9th January 2019 to close the outdoor pool and replace it with a 'training' pool, we have sought a legal opinion from a highly respected QC - David Wolfe who stated in his opinion that the consultation was unlawful. Read more here.
Before this we formally asked the Council to pause their decision making to re-look at the feasibility of retaining the outdoor pool which they dismissed. We argued that the feasibility study that informed decision making omitted key information including a host of local indoor swimming facilities and a robust assessment of the financial viability of an outdoor pool.
We have also:
- Written to and met with our Councillors and MP
- Gathered 3800 online signatures in favour of retaining outdoor swimming in Kenilworth and 600 paper signatures in support of of the proposed pause
- Held two public meeting that hundreds turned up to
- Helped 1000 Kenilworth residents send postcards to local Councillors asking for the pool to be saved
What are the key issues
1. Our community and our future
Kenilworth has had public outdoor swimming for 123 years. It is currently the only outdoor swimming facility within a 30 mile radius. People come to the pool from a wide surrounding area – it is unique a low cost family amenity that provides for outdoor swimming in the most landlocked part of the country. It also has the potential to be a tourist attraction bringing much needed foot fall into the town. Combined with the new train station, this opportunity is bigger than ever.
2. Upholding the wishes of the people of Kenilworth
The option to restore the outdoor pool to Lido size (as above) was not put to the people of Kenilworth in consultation despite the Restore Kenilworth Lido group demonstrating the viability of this option. Despite this, when local residents were asked to give their views on the future of the pool complex, 300 of the 500 respondents said they considered outdoor facilities to be “very important” or “important”. A total of 25% of all respondents to the consultation expressly supported Restore Kenilworth Lido's option even though it was not on the offical consultation. 3800 people have signed an online petition in favour of retaining outdoor swimming in Kenilworth, over 600 people have signed paper copies of a petition calling for a pause in the decision making process and 1000 postcards have been distributed to be sent to Councillors by local residents.
3. Maintaining our heritage
This case is also about the protection of our heritage. When the outdoor pool was refurbished in 1935 it was often referred to as a ‘lido’, had it been officially called the Kenilworth Lido it would have been the first in the country.
Find out more about the pool’s history on the Victoran Kenilworth website.
The pool has been an inspiration to big names in outdoor swimming including our own Kenilworth local, paralympian Melanie Easter. It was also an inspiration for Roger Deakin who in his famous book “Water Log” recalls that his "earliest memory of serious swimming" was an open-air pool in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, which he visited when staying with his grandparents during childhood holidays.
Excerpt from Roger Deakin’s ‘Water Log’.
My earliest memory of serious swimming if of being woken very early on holiday mornings with my grandparents in Kenilworth by a sudden rain of pebbles at my bedroom window aimed by my Uncle Laddie, who was a local swimming champion and had his own key to the outdoor pool. Long before the lifeguards arrived, we would unlock the wooden gate and set the straight black refracted lines on the bottom of the green pool snaking and shimmying.