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 was handed to the Town Council, and in 1970 our open-air pool was opened.
West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) took over the running of the pool in 1974 and then, in July 2002, announced their intention to close the outdoor pool. Local people united by their love of the facility immediately got together to form a campaigning group KOPO (Keep Our Pool Open). 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 that they would no longer operate the pool but offered to hand it over to the KOPO committee on a long lease but without any financial subsidy. Chipping Norton Lido Limited was created, and also registered for charitable status.
Since that time The Lido has been run by a voluntary committee of trustees and a dedicated team of employees, with no public funding other than a small grant from the Town Council each year.
Over the years the trustees have worked to meet the needs of local people by expanding the range of activities on offer and making full use of both the pool and lawns. In addition to swimming and lessons, we now provide aquafit, artistic swimming, Tai Chi, yoga, fitness classes, private hire, and special events. The Lido has also been used in filming, most notably for Top Gear and Father Brown.
The Lido also works alongside community groups to support programmes such as the Holiday Activity Fund and You Move, which aim to ensure that families and children living in deprivation have access to swimming and outdoor recreation.
The committee of trustees continues to raise funds to subsidise operating costs, improve the facilities and replace ageing machinery and plant.
To date we have refitted the plant room, refurbished the changing rooms, repaired and relined both pools (funded by a Sport England Inspired Facilities grant), installed solar PV, redeveloped the café building to create a multipurpose indoor space as well as a refitted café, and more.
Future plans include installing outdoor showers and refurbishing the outdoor toilets.