Help Us Make a Big Splash!
Help us fund the specialist studies essential to progress our journey to re-develop the derelict Otley baths into a modern all year round leisure venue featuring a 25-30 meter heated lido with a retractable roof. Alongside the outdoor pool our concept includes a gym, cafe / restaurant, health and well-being facilities including a new home for the bowls club, and public toilets for visitors to Wharfemeadows Park.
(Above: Architect's concept - courtesy of 3xa)
Through fundraising and securing other funding we have already raised over £12,000 towards the cost of Phase 1, which comprises of specialist studies and professional services relating to the site. However, to complete this phase we still require £53,000 to reach our overall target of £65,000.
So, come on Otley and friends and supporters from other areas, we REALLY need your support. It's now or never in terms of raising the required funds to get us through this tricky first stage. Once we are through this stage we can explore larger funding opportunities. We strongly believe we can do this together and we need your help now!
This is an 'All or nothing' crowdfunding campaign and your pledge will only be taken if we reach our overall target, so please do not hesitate. Sadly if we fail to reach the target we can't see how we can continue with the lido project and will miss this historic opportunity.
(Above: Our 'fundraising pool' designed by Zeppo Creative)
If you share our vision for a modern all year round leisure venue in Otley then we would be grateful for your pledge. We've got some swimmingly great rewards for you as well.
If you would like to know more - read on. We believe our vision and exciting plans will convince you to Help Us Make a Big Splash!
History of Otley Baths
The Otley outdoor baths, as it was known at the time, opened in 1924 and was popular with the local community, as well as attracting visitors to the town as travel became increasingly accessible through the 20th century.
(Above: Left c.1960 - Otley baths in its heyday - Right c. 1970 courtesy of John Morgan)
We have collated many lovely tales and fond memories from people who spent time at the baths despite the cold water and inclement British weather. Some of these memories now adorn the hoarding at the site and feature on our website.
(Above: Memories of the Otley baths - designs by Zeppo Creative)
The outdoor pool, as it became known by the end of the 20th century, closed in 1993. It now stands derelict in Wharfemeadows Park - a popular and otherwise attractive riverside park featuring a children's play area, boats, skateboarding park, tennis courts and scenic walks.
(Above: The current derelict site)
A Modern Lido - heated year round
Lidos around the country are experiencing a magnificent resurgence and we want Otley to be part of this. Our project aims to return the baths to its heyday - albeit in a modern guise.
The centrepiece of the lido will be an accessible 25-30m heated pool with a retractable roof offering all year round fun. Our vision includes a play area for children and families, cafe/restaurant, gym, space for community activities, accessible public toilets for users of the park and a new home for Wharfemeadows Bowling Club. All of this with a view of the beautiful river Wharfe.
(Above: Architect's concepts - courtesy of 3xa Design)
We want a venue where children can learn to swim but also somewhere which could benefit the local community through improving health and well-being. The lido will also provide economic benefits for the town, by virtue of it being a destination for visitors from further afield.
Our aim is that the lido will be a hub which connects our community. A destination where families can relax and enjoy themselves. An accessible venue where everyone can take part in activities, have a drink or meal and connect with others. A place where children and adults can learn life lessons through sport and establish a healthy relationship with exercise for the rest of their lives. And who knows, maybe a place where future Olympians begin their journeys!
Sustainability is key to our vision and integral to our decision-making. We have given great thought and consideration to how our project can be sympathetic to the environment in its design, build and throughout its operating life-cycle. That means not just minimising its environmental footprint but also maximising the positive impacts it can make, for example to the visual aspects of Wharfemeadows Park and the town.
Additionally, at the heart of our conceptual design are financial sustainability and viability. The venue needs to be self-sustaining whilst simultaneously being affordable for users - hence our desire to provide a variety of facilities and activities on the site which will provide diversified revenue streams.
The Journey Forward
To bring this project to fruition we will apply to larger funding organisations and seek partners aligned with our aims - this represents a future phase in our plans. In order to do so, we require detailed plans for the site (e.g. architects drawings, costings, planning permission, a sustainable business plan, etc.). This requires professional services and specialist studies / surveys to be carried out on the site - this is Phase 1 which we are fundraising for now. The studies / surveys include elements such as:
- Site investigation works - e.g. ground investigation, assessment of site clearance, contaminants etc
- Architectural drawings in readiness for formal submission of planning application
- Detailed costings
- Carbon footprint minimisation options during build and operation
- Flood risk and management of potential flood waters
- Impact on traffic in the area
- Ecological study to consider the wildlife and general environment
- Project management assessment
- Assessment of the structural design and build
- Assessment of pool options
- Geotechnical study
- Identification, assessment and report on potential funding channels
- Development of a long term sustainable business plan
Our plan to bring Otley lido to fruition follows a well-established approach - for example, Peckham and Broomhill lidos have adopted similar approaches. We are grateful to our friends and partners at lidos across the country for their invaluable advice in planning and progressing our project and look forward to continuing to engage with them.
Friends of Otley Lido (FoOL)
In February 2016 we established Friends of Otley Lido (FoOL) as a Community Interest Company - a social enterprise that uses its profits and assets for the benefit of the community. We are a group of professional and dedicated volunteers who are passionate about regenerating the site of the former baths into a modern all year round leisure venue. Our vision is for a community owned and run facility that benefits our community.
In order to compliment other initiatives to regenerate or add leisure amenities in Wharfemeadows Park and the town more generally, we continually engage with our partners and actively seek out new partnerships aligned with our objectives.
More information about FoOL can be found on our website at www.otleylido.com
Our Partners and Supporters
We believe our sustainable community owned and run venue will be a fantastic addition - a real asset to Otley and the wider area. Luckily, many in our community, along with our partners and supporters agree.
We have secured a 125 year rent-free lease for the site from Leeds City Council who fully support our aims. Further, we successfully raised the profile of the site, including through engagement with Otley Town Council and are delighted to be included in the Otley Neighbourhood Plan which was adopted after a referendum in February 2020.
Our support is widespread and includes Leeds City Council, Otley Town Council and Alex Sobel MP (Leeds North West).
We are also grateful to organisations and businesses who recognise the social, health and economic benefits our project will bring and have supported us in various ways. To date over fifty organisations and businesses have provided grants, goods and services or fund-raised on our behalf.
Our website acknowledges each of these and provides further details on the opportunities available to organisations and businesses.
We are particularly grateful for the strong support of the local community who have have provided valuable ideas and feedback, in addition to supporting our fundraising efforts. Our social media platforms are always busy and we would encourage you to join thousands of others who follow us to demonstrate their support, share their thoughts and hear all our latest updates.
HELP US MAKE A BIG SPLASH! Please contact us if you require any further information. We are grateful for each and every pledge and donation because it is only with your support that we can make this happen
A NOTE ABOUT REWARDS.
The rewards are offered in good faith. The ‘All or nothing’ fundraising option, means that any monies pledged will only be collected if and when we reach our target of £53,000. Therefore, the tangible rewards such as t-shirts, postcards, stickers and bags etc. will only be delivered if the target is reached. The target date for delivering rewards is mid December 2021. Non-tangible rewards, such as free swims and various membership levels can only be delivered once the lido is built. This is obviously dependent on future funding.
The Friends of Otley Lido Volunteer Committee.