Eastville Park lido plans backed in group's public survey

September 30 2021
Eastville Park lido plans backed in group's public survey

A GROUP aiming to build a new outdoor lido in Eastville Park says the idea has been backed by nine out of ten people who responded to a survey.

The Eastville Park Lido steering group urged people to fill in the online survey over the summer, to find out what facilities they would like to see in the park.

More than 850 people responded to the survey, launched as the group prepares a bid to bring outdoor swimming facilities back to the park for the first time since the Second World War.

Asked about what new facilities they would like to see, 539 said swimming facilities, 430 wanted a cafe and 346 wanted more toilets.

People were then asked direct questions about each potential facility, with 90% answering 'yes' to the question: "Would you like to see swimming facilities in Eastville Park?"

The idea of a cafe in the park was supported by 84% of respondents and extra toilets backed by just under 70%.Other new facilities backed in the survey included more outdoor activity programmes, play area improvements, food markets, an 'off-the-lead' dog area, a designated cycle route through the top of the park and 'bat-sensitive' motion-activated lighting.

The questionnaire was a follow-up to an earlier survey which had been jointly run by the steering group and the Friends of Eastville Park.

However the Friends group announced at the end of July that it would not be supporting the lido project, saying its development would have a "detrimental impact on both the park and local residents", and the latest survey was organised and promoted by the steering group alone.

The steering group has estimated that the outdoor pool itself would cost around £600,000 to build; adding buildings to house facilities including changing rooms, a cafe, reception and function room would take the overall cost to about £1.6 million.

A steering group spokesperson said members would now look over the detailed results as they prepare a business plan and a bid to the city council's Future Parks project, which is encouraging community groups and businesses to express an interest in running facilities in Eastville Park by the end of this month.

The spokesperson added: "It's clear that people want a lido and it's clear that people want a cafe, and if we can bring those together, that would be great."

The group wants to build the lido on the old bowling green area, next to the park's multi-sports court.

Its bid could also include a cafe on the nearby site of the park's Nissen hut, which is currently used by the Friends and the Eastville Park Bowling Club. The Friends have recently announced plans to upgrade the building so it can be used all year round.

But the steering group spokesperson said the hut was not currently "particularly functional" and may need to be replaced.

She added: "Where the cafe goes has to be carefully considered in relation to the existing buildings and the playground."

Picture: Annie Moir, Deya Ward and Shanks Raj of the lido steering group in front of the site where the group wants to build a new outdoor pool, a former bowling green in Eastville Park.