THE Cleveland Pools Trust, which looks after Bath’s 200 year-old open-air lido, has been granted £56,300 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to assist with the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the development of the development project.
The pandemic and lockdown forced the trust team to adapt to home working. Various community plans and aspects of the project have been delayed as consultants were placed on furlough, slowing the pace of planned work.
The new grant comes from the lottery Heritage Emergency Fund which has so far provided £50 million for those most in need across the heritage sector.
Paul Simons, chairman of the Cleveland Pools Trust, thanked the Heritage Lottery 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 decided to delay the planned start of works on site until spring next year. Due to the pools’ proximity and reliance on the river Avon as the primary means of transporting plant, machinery and materials to site, the delay will minimise the risk of adverse weather over the winter period.
Over the coming months the trust will be updating the business plan in light of the impacts of Covid-19, and completing design work ahead of starting on site. The aim is to sign a contract with the chosen contractor, Beard Construction, in February 2021, with plans to be open for swimming in summer 2022.
Sean Franks from Beard Construction said the company was excited 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 Grade II listed Cleveland Pools is the UK’s only surviving Georgian open-air swimming pool. Built in 1815, it was a favourite summer destination for generations of bathers from Bath and beyond. By the Victorian era, it was so popular that a children’s pool was added but with the advent of indoor swimming , demand dropped and Cleveland Pools closed in 1984.
Since then, dedicated volunteers and campaigners have maintained the site. In 2014 the Cleveland Pools Trust received preliminary funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and began opening the site for walking tours and public visits. With the help of the Prince’s Regeneration Trust, English Heritage, and B&NES Council, the trust now has planning approval to restore the baths and reclaim them for swimmers.