Offenders working on Community Payback with West Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), are helping bring a much-loved local attraction back to life with Friends of Otley Lido – a community project to restore the Otley Lido in Wharfemeadows Park.
Otley swimming pool was opened in 1924 and was widely used by the local community and encouraged people to travel into the town.
It closed in 1993 and now stands scruffy and derelict in the otherwise attractive riverside park that has a large play area for children which is widely used.
Friends of Otley Lido plan to reopen the pool, offering an amazing year-round heated open-air facility, to become the focal heart of the wider community. It will also provide free toilets for the park users. Currently the nearest toilet facilities are one mile away in the town centre.
Friends of Otley approached West Yorkshire CRC, which for delivers Community Payback in the region and is responsible for supervising offenders and ensuring they comply with their sentence and the orders of the court.
Offenders has spent the past couple of months clearing the site of undergrowth and rubble to get it ready for professional builders to move and begin work.
West Yorkshire CRC said: “This first phase of the work means that the site is virtually ready for a professional team to come and begin building work but West Yorkshire CRC has pledged to support the Friends of Otley Lido through the duration of the project.
“Community Payback schemes like the one delivered at Otley Lido provide a means by which offenders learn new skills to support their rehabilitation and future employment prospects and also put something back into their local community”
“Community Payback schemes like the one delivered at Otley Lido provide a means by which offenders learn new skills to support their rehabilitation and future employment prospects and also put something back into their local community.”
Friends of Otley Lido have secured an exclusivity agreement with Leeds City Council to come up with a feasibility study and a business plan and are currently busy working on this.
The Friends of Otley Lido has to raise £55,000 to enable a detailed feasibility study of its proposals for an outdoor pool, in Wharfemeadows Park, to be carried out.
The group has been working on securing the funding all year and received boost in September when Otley Town Council pledged £5,000 towards the total.
Friends of Otley Lido secretary Leonie Sharp, said “Our reach is for the whole community, young and old, with access needs and special abilities such as triathletes and exceptional swimmers, and for local kids to learn to swim.
“It will be a truly accessible facility for the whole community and will bring in much needed attraction for the town of Otley and our local businesses.”
“It is so important for the community to support us by voting for us.”
The group’s plans are ambitious and would see a 30m heated, outdoor pool with a retractable roof created on the site of the old lido.
The scheme, designed to make the pool accessible and affordable to all, would be funded largely through a restaurant and gym on the riverside plot.
*The Community Payback Team in West Yorkshire would like to hear about other projects which residents think will make a real difference to their community. Nominate a Community Payback Project