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Jesus Green Lido could be heated so it can open all year

By Josh Thomas | Local Democracy Reporter

Jesus Green Lido could open for longer each year if it is heated
Jesus Green Lido could open for longer each year if it is heated

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Cambridge City Council is considering heating Jesus Green Lido so its opening season can be extended – potentially all year round.

This year, the popular pool opened on May 12 and it will close on September 23.

The council’s environment and community scrutiny committee approved a £45,000 fund to look into the lido’s development. Members heard that heating the pool was “definitely a consideration”.

Ian Ross, the council’s sport and recreation, said the lido, often cited as being one of the longest in Europe, holds more than 600,000 gallons of water.

Mr Ross said keeping all that water heated would be a “big job” and that a solution could be partitioning off parts of the pool that needed to be kept warm, or making the whole thing shallower so there would be less water to heat.

He said the weir at the nearby Jesus Green lock could be harnessed to generate hydroelectric power to heat the pool. Photovoltaic panels are also an option, he said.

Labour’s Cllr Patrick Sheil, however, implored the committee to leave the pool as it was, saying there was no sense adding heating to a perfectly good pool. Instead, he said swimmers should be able to stay later into the evenings during the warm, bright summer months. It typically closes at 7.30pm.

“It is lovely as it is,” said Cllr Sheil. “Please don’t change it. Is there any scope for letting swimmers carry on later into the evening? We are in the lucky position of having a freshwater pool in the city, as well as indoor pools. I worry about the idea of heating it.”

Labour councillor Richard Johnson said: “Heated lidos are not unique or unusual. They are used quite often, and in all seasons – all year round. If we did do this, and the study says it is a good idea, we won’t be getting something that is untried or untested.”

The city council will also investigate other ways to improve swimming pool provision.

Green councillor Oscar Gillespie was the only councillor not to support the plans. He abstained, saying he could not support the idea of keeping the pool open longer if it meant using more energy to heat the pool.

Cllr Gillespie said: “Unless it is completely zero carbon, we shouldn’t be talking about this at all. Being able to swim in the winter is a luxury. Climate change could see sea levels rising above Cambridge. If we’re looking for more swimming provision, the river is one of the best swimming facilities in the city.”

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