The story of the pool at Chipping Norton illustrates the town’s extraordinary community spirit.
In 1963 local people began a fundraising campaign to build a swimming pool. In just seven years over £20,000 had been raised, the money handed to the Town Council and our open-air pool was opened in 1970.
West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) took over the running of the pool in 1974 and then, in July 2002, WODC announced that the outdoor pool was to close. 2003 saw the creation of KOPO (Keep Our Pool Open), a campaigning group united by their love of the facility. They mounted a spirited “Use it or Lose It” campaign and, supported by the Town Council, they lobbied WODC who agreed a one-year reprieve.
In 2004 WODC announced the withdrawal of their subsidy and the KOPO committee formed a company to manage The Lido, Chipping Norton Lido Limited, and registered for charitable status. Without any public funding other than a small grant from the Town Council each year, the committee of trustees continues to raise funds in order to subsidise the operating costs, improve the facilities and replace the ageing machinery and plant.
A comprehensive Refurbishment & Modernisation Plan has to date achieved a refit of the plant room, refurbishment of the changing rooms, installation of a steam room and, in 2015, the repair and relining of both pools, funded by a Sport England “Inspired Facilities” grant.
The trustees are currently raising funds to improve access for disabled visitors. Future plans include new fencing, the re-roofing of both buildings and redevelopment of the cafe building to create a multipurpose indoor space and cafe kiosk.
In 2010 The Lido’s new eco-efficient energy system became fully operational. Solar electricity is generated from 60 photovoltaic panels on the roof. These off-set The Lido’s own usage as well as provide an income out of season. Natural heat from deep beneath the ground is being used to raise the water temperature, putting less demand on the gas boilers, which are themselves the latest, most energy efficient models. Water quality has been improved by introducing a state of the art ultra-violet light purifier as well as two new filtration tanks. Water usage has been reduced, thanks to better monitoring and maintenance. And the overall efficiency of the site has been improved by new electric and plumbing fixtures.