Delay for pool start but a heritage lottery bonus.

Cleveland Pools Trust has secured emergency funding – with a grant of £56,300 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund – to assist with the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the development of the project – the start date of which has now been pushed back to the spring of next year.

The restoration team has had to adapt to home working, review and alter numerous community engagement projects, and been delayed as consultants were placed on furlough, slowing the pace of planned work.

The funding, made possible by National Lottery players, is awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s ​Heritage Emergency Fund​. To date £50million has made available to provide emergency funding for those most in need across the heritage sector.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, supporting economic regeneration and benefiting our personal wellbeing. All of these things are going to be even more important as we emerge from this current crisis. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are pleased to be able to lend our support to organisations such as Cleveland Pools Trust during this uncertain time.”

Paul Simons, Chair of the Trust said: “The Cleveland Pools Trust is immensely grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for its continuing support and confidence in the project team in its efforts to move forward and deliver this unique project. We are all working in unprecedented circumstances and the Trust is delighted with the encouragement and assistance that it is receiving from its major funder.”

The Trust has also taken the decision to delay the planned start of works on site until spring next year. ​Due to the site’s proximity and reliance on the river Avon as the primary means of transporting plant, machinery and materials to site this will greatly minimise risk to the project in the event of adverse weather over the winter period.

Over the coming months we will be working to update the business plan in light of the impacts of Covid-19, alongside completing design work ahead of starting on site. We will be working towards signing a contract with our chosen contractor Beard Construction in February 2021 and are scheduled to be open for swimming in Summer 2022.

Sean Franks from Beard Construction said: ​“Beard Construction are excited to be part of this project and are keen to be involved in the restoration of this historic Georgian lido. We remain committed to the scheme and look forward to commencing works in the New Year.”

The Cleveland Pools are the UK’s oldest surviving public outdoor swimming pool. First opened in 1817 as a river fed pool, followed by a colourful history through the Victorian era to its heyday in the 1970s, until competition from the newly opened indoor Bath Sports and Leisure Centre saw the Cleveland Pools close to swimming in 1984.

To survive, it was for a short time used as a trout farm, but was threatened with demolition as an alternative to repair. In 2003 Bath and North East Somerset council, who owns the site, put it up for sale, and it was added to the English Heritage Buildings at Risk Register.

Thanks to the determination of two local people, Ann Dunlop and Roger Houghton, the Cleveland Pools Trust (CPT) was formed in 2005 to rescue the pools from dilapidation. In 2006 its listed building status was raised from II to II* as The Pools were considered of ‘particularly important… of more than special interest.’

Thousands of supporters from far and wide, many of whom have happy memories of swimming here before closure, joined the campaign and today the CPT has many highly valued volunteers who give their time to keep the site in good order, fundraising, publicising progress and organising events.

We are now well on our way to finally restoring the Pools for the community of Bath and beyond to enjoy.