Despite delays caused by poor weather and ageing infrastructure, leisure centre staff and volunteers are working hard to get Stratford Park Lido ready for swimmers in June.
Since 1937 the open-air pool has been a favourite spot for a cooling dip but it needs more maintenance every year. This means that Stroud District Council is aiming for an opening date of Monday, June 5, slightly later than originally anticipated.
Volunteers have been hard at work sprucing up the area around the pool, painting the changing rooms, and brightening them up with a new mural designed by South Gloucestershire & Stroud College students. Stroud District Council’s leisure operator Everyone Active has scheduled a major clean before opening.
The Council runs the facility at a loss but recognises its value to the community. Once again in addition to seven-day-a-week opening from noon until 7pm there will be morning lane swim sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7am to 9am.
“We know how much Stratford Park Lido means to the community, and our officers and Everyone Active are doing all they can to ensure it opens for swimmers of all ages and abilities to enjoy,” said Beki Aldam, Chair of SDC’s Community Services and Licensing Committee.
Deputy Chair Trevor Hall thanked swimmers for their patience and paid tribute to volunteers from The Friends of Stratford Park Lido, who have prepared and painted walls, and weeded the paved areas, alongside work done by SDC and Everyone Active.
“I would like to thank them for their commitment to this much-loved facility, which takes an ever-increasing amount of work to get up and running each year,” said Councillor Hall.
Due to wet weather, there was an initial delay in being able to paint the pool ‘tank’ – an annual task which is increasingly difficult due to the age and condition of the tank. Then a burst pipe was fixed but an issue with a filter caused another delay of a week while pool engineers and SDC Property Services team found a solution.
Those issues meant filling the 50 yard, spring-fed Lido started on Thursday May 11, approximately 10 days behind schedule. Once it’s threequarters full, the schedule of starting the pump, treating and filtering the water, balancing the chemicals, and then training the lifeguard team in the pool can take place.
That means that the earliest opening day is Monday, June 5, instead of Saturday, May 27.
Subject to all maintenance and safety checks, SDC and Everyone Active are committed to that date and are considering keeping it open slightly longer at the end of the season to compensate for the delay.
As well as the twice-weekly morning lane swims there will be daily daytime lane sessions from noon to 1pm and 6pm to 7pm, with public sessions for all ages and abilities to enjoy the whole pool, available from 1.15pm to 3.15pm and 3.45pm to 5.45pm.
Chair of the Friends Group, Jess McQuail said: “We are working hard to contribute to the successful running of the Lido and make it a place for everyone to enjoy, and although obviously disappointed we understand why there will be a slight delay to the usual opening date.”
Stratford Park Outdoor Pool was opened in the summer of 1937. Although initially heated before World War II, the Lido is now a cold-water pool after the metal heating elements were dismantled for the war effort, and open for around 100 days a year during the summer months.
A 2017 public consultation run by SDC, Stroud Town Council and The Friends tested a selection of names with the public. The most popular was ‘Stratford Park Lido’, which is how the pool has been referred to since then.
Customers and members can book online, via the Everyone Active App, over the phone or at the centre. Refreshments and snacks will be available to purchase on site.
Find out more here: https://www.everyoneactive.com/centre/stratford-park-leisure-centre/