Restore Kenilworth Lido campaign continues to gather momentum

Campaign group Restore Kenilworth Lido has now taken action to seek a legal opinion on the decision making process of Warwick District Council in regard to its plans to replace the town’s open air swimming pool with an indoor facility.

Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 3:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 4:00 pm
Members of the Restore Kenilworth Lido group stage a protest at Abbey Fields

The group has said that it believes the consultation process resulting in the decision to close outdoor pool in Abbey Fields from September 2019 was “fundamentally flawed”.

And members have launched an online crowdfunding campaign on the website to raise money to pay for the legal challenge.

While “wholeheartedly” supporting plans to refurbish the current indoor pool, campaigners want the council to consider building a “25-metre 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.”

The group has said: “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.

“Our only course of action now is to seek legal review of the decision.

“We have been advised that the way that the consultation was conducted may have been unlawful.

“We are seeking your support to obtain an opinion from a QC to confirm this.

“Without this information, we do not know if we can pursue legal action and we are left with a decision that does not represent the views of the people of Kenilworth - that may well be based on inaccurate information - and the loss of a historic and unique amenity forever.”

The campaigners are aiming to raise £2,500 to cover the costs of a solicitor instructing a QC to provide an opinion on whether there are legal grounds to challenge the decision.

So far, more than £1,400 has been donated towards this.

Group members have also gathered 3,800 signatures online and 600 on paper in favour of retaining outdoor swimming in Kenilworth, formally asked the council to pause its decision in order to look further into the feasibility of retaining the outdoor pool and helped 1,000 Kenilworth residents send postcards to councillors asking for the pool to be saved.

When the council made its decision on the Lido in January, portfolio holder for leisure Cllr Michael Coker (Con, Abbey), said: ”We’ve listened to their [Restore Kenilworth Lido’s] concerns throughout. We’ve done as much as we possibly could.

“The [new pool would be available for 12 months a year. That’s a better bet for the community as a whole.”

**** It is not often you see four men ready for a February swim in the Abbey Fields lake (pictured).

But that was what greeted people last Wednesday.

But there was a good reason for it, as campaigner Clive Peacock explains.

He said: “At the full Warwick District Council (WDC) meeting at the town hall on January 23 when the Executive voted against option to defer the decision to close the outdoor pool, Councillor Grainger spoke against the motion and said quite openly ‘if you want outdoor swimming then go and swim in the lake’.

“Those in the gallery sat there open-mouthed; the WDC leisure team did nothing to reprimand the councillor or to advise against the action on health and safety grounds at the very least.

“I cannot think of a more stupid suggestion than the one the councillor uttered.

“It beggars belief. So we carried out her suggestion!

“To be honest, not one of us dared jump into the lake as it is quite disgusting and not a healthy environment!” ****