Friends look to take over running of outdoor pool

Tynemouth open air pool
Tynemouth open air pool

A COMMUNITY group keen to take over the running of a once-popular outdoor pool have been boosted by the interest shown in their plans.

Earlier this month, North Tyneside Council put the former Tynemouth Outdoor Pool up for sale as a way to find alternative measures to improve the site.

Initial regeneration proposals by the authority – which included filling in the pool and creating temporary volleyball courts and performance areas – were rejected by residents keen to see the return of an open air pool.

Now, the Friends of Tynemouth Outdoor Pool has stepped up its efforts to take over the running of the derelict site and turn it into a modern attraction.

A meeting last week at Cobalt Business Exchange to begin discussions on design, energy and strategic funding was attended by some of the region’s biggest names in architecture and building design, surveying, engineering, planning, renewables and funding.

Attendees were given a first glimpse of what the Friends would like to do with the site, and afterwards hailed it as a ‘positive day of discussions’.

Organisers believe the interest shown will help the group make a huge leap forward to finalising their set of formal design documents they will be submitting to the council in January.

Dave Harland, co-chairman of the Friends of Tynemouth Outdoor Pool, said: “Now that we have a full design team working on the project, we are well on our way to overcoming a lot of the major technical difficulties associated with the site.

“Our financial team are also very close to developing a strategy that ensures the outdoor pool will be a long-term sustainable and successful, community driven business.

“However, the project still requires a complex mix of grant aid, public and private financial backing to get it off the ground – and that’s what we’re focusing on right now.

“The outdoor pool is a nationally significant investment opportunity, and we’re currently talking to potential investors, and looking for anyone else with capital project fundraising experience to come forward and work with us on this aspect of the project.

“While the visualisation we have produced doesn’t represent the final design for the pool site, it hopefully offers up an inspirational view of what our local coastline could look like – and something that we can all aspire to achieve, and ultimately be very proud of.”

The group believe the pool can work as a viable and profitable business, managed by the community, and earlier this year visited similar schemes to get more advice and information.

The outdoor pool, situated at the southern end of Long Sands beach, was originally opened in 1925 and proved a popular attraction until the 1970s.

It was turned into an artificial rockpool by the council in 1996.

Officials at the council say they are looking for sustainable businesses cases for the site, with interested parties being given the chance to either buy it or secure it on a long-term lease.

An advert on the council’s website says it “is in a prime seafront position” while inland from the beach are a number of businesses, community, leisure, retail and open space facilities.

Any businesses, groups or individuals interested in the site are being asked to submit the necessary documents by noon on Monday, January 14.