Plug is pulled on council’s plans for outdoor pool

Tynemouth Outdoor Pool and Lido.
Tynemouth Outdoor Pool and Lido.

CAMPAIGNERS say they are keen to work with council chiefs over the future of a once popular outdoor pool despite the plug being pulled on the latest proposals.

North Tyneside Council has withdrawn its plans to turn the former Tynemouth Outdoor Pool and Lido into a new visitors attraction and events space following objections raised by local residents.

The proposals would have seen the now derelict pool filled in, creating a multi-functional performance space for theatre, volleyball or beach football, as well as an informal play area, seating, arts space, possible kiosk and viewing platform.

Mayor Linda Arkley had been keen to include the site in part of a £4.5m bid submitted to the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF).

But after residents objected to the plans, the administrator of the CCF advised the council to withdraw the pool element due to the negative responses.

Mayor Linda Arkley said: “I’m extremely disappointed that we have lost a fantastic opportunity to improve what has been an eyesore for so many years.

“I truly believe we had a workable solution to use this site in an exciting and new way that met today’s needs while retaining its important legacy.

“Unfortunately, we have now lost the first opportunity that we have had for many years to obtain the funding that could have made this happen.

“We now need to move on. I can reassure our residents that I’ve asked our team to ensure our funding bid, which will contain a number of other projects to improve our coastline, is as strong as possible.

“While I completely understand the fondness for the former outdoor pool, there has never been any evidence to suggest it is commercially viable to bring it back into use as it was.

“However, the situation we are in now means interested parties have the chance to come forward with their business and financial plans for the site.”

However, residents say they still want to see the pool restored to its former glory and are keen to work with the council on finding alternative funding sources.

Barry Bell, one of those leading the campaign group, said: “We’re quite pleased the council has pulled the plans as they certainly weren’t ambitious and it gives us an opportunity to come forward with our own plans.

“Any plans that anyone puts forward is going to have to involve the council as they own the site.

“We hope we can come up with something which the council will embrace and we can work with them in the future.

“We’re not billing our entire plans on the nostalgia, but on a resurgence in sport and an active lifestyle.

“We’re not looking to create a pool like it was but it will be a modern, safe usable pool and heated if possible.”

He added they were in discussions with other outdoor pools in the country which had been successfully restored, while they were also looking at the possibility of filling any future outdoor pool with seawater to prevent any contamination when waves breach the sea wall.

Nearly 8,000 people have now shown their support for the residents by ‘liking’ the campaign group on Facebook.

Mr Bell, of Cullercoats, said they were now looking to set up a working party to lead the group, potentially as a community-interest organisation, a ‘friends of’ group or a charitable organisation.

“We can then put a business plan together, then can look for funding whether that is private or government, but there are several opportunities for us to look at,” he said.

Anyone interested in supporting the campaign group can find them on Facebook via www.facebook.com/TynemouthOutdoorPool

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