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Some like it hot: outdoor pool heats up

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Stratford Park’s 50 metre, spring-fed outdoor pool in Stroud is set to open tomorrow, Saturday, and improvements include a modest amount of heating, new morning sessions and a changing room revamp.

After securing funding for heating options, a heat exchanger which takes excess heat from the neighbouring Stratford Park Leisure Centre’s electricity generator was installed earlier this month.

It is predicted to raise the temperature in the pool by a degree or two but crucially, the heat exchanger installed is future-proofed to allow for more heat to be fed in to the water if longer-term plans for heating are realised.

The heat for the leisure centre is generated by a combined heat and power (CHP) unit next to the pool and two gas-fired condensing boilers.

A heat exchanger and associated pipework has been installed, and the excess heat from the CHP can be used by the pool. When sizing the pool heat exchanger there was consideration for future-proofing for additional heat load (400kw unit) to allow the Lido to be heated to a potential 24°C when the outside temperature is at 15°C. This is dependent on funding in future years, however.

In addition, volunteers, Stroud and South Gloucestershire College students, Friends of Stratford Park Lido, and contractors have all worked together to improve the aesthetic of the changing rooms. The false ceiling has been removed by the volunteers and the 1930s glass roof now allows natural light to pour in.

SGS students are repairing benches and painting changing rooms this summer term, and new sensor lighting, hand dryers and extractor fans have been installed in the ladies’ toilets, and emergency lighting and exit signs, emergency pull cord installed in the accessible toilet/shower.

Stratford Park Outdoor Pool was opened in the summer of 1937. Although initially heated before World War II, the pool is now a cold-water pool, open for around 100 days a year during the summer months (end of May to the beginning of September).

“We know how well-loved the Lido is and improvements are being made which will improve the experience for all who take a dip,” said Councillor Chris Brine, Chair of SDC Community Services and Licensing Committee. “The longer-term ambition is to warm the pool by more than just a degree or two and the new heat exchanger will allow for that, and for now, use excess heat from the leisure centre too.”

A public consultation run by SDC, Stroud Town Council and The Friends, published in 2017, 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.

Managed by leisure operator Everyone Active in partnership with Stroud District Council, the popular pool will open for morning sessions on a trial basis, as well as the usual times.

The pool will be open seven days a week, from noon until 7pm. Daily daytime lane sessions for keen swimmers will run from 12pm – 1pm and 6pm – 7pm, with public sessions for all ages and abilities to enjoy the whole pool, available from 1:15pm – 3:15pm and 3:45pm – 5:45pm.

In addition, early morning swimming sessions will be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7am – 9am.

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.

To prepare the outdoor pool for public use, it takes approximately three weeks to fill from a spring, following two weeks of painting, plus safety checks and training of temporary staff.

Find out more here: https://www.everyoneactive.com/centre/stratford-park-leisure-centre/

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