Hilsea splash pool misses summer opening after long delays

113220-6602  HILSEA LIDO (JT) MRW 10/9/2011''// all pix in this folder taken at a 'Fun Day ' at Hilsea Lido - MRW // ''Sabrina Richards , Chairman of 'Hilsea Lido Pool for the People Trust ' in the elderly changing rooms at Hilsea Lido''Picture: Malcolm Wells (113220-6602)
113220-6602 HILSEA LIDO (JT) MRW 10/9/2011''// all pix in this folder taken at a 'Fun Day ' at Hilsea Lido - MRW // ''Sabrina Richards , Chairman of 'Hilsea Lido Pool for the People Trust ' in the elderly changing rooms at Hilsea Lido''Picture: Malcolm Wells (113220-6602)

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YOUNGSTERS are still unable to use a new splash pool after Portsmouth City Council missed two summer deadlines.

In April, the council’s leader for leisure, Councillor Lee Hunt, gave the go-ahead for £400,000 to be spent on a new facility at Hilsea Lido.

The new pool was designed to replace the old one at the same place, which was damaged by last winter’s freezing conditions, and was supposed to open in time for the summer holidays.

Arguments over whether it was appropriate for the site set the process back, leading the targeted opening date to be moved to the middle of last month.

But now youngsters have returned to school and work continues.

Hilsea Cllr Donna Jones said: ‘It’s really not good enough. This is a popular pool, and it was supposed to be open in time for the school holidays. But look at it.

‘Everyone’s back at school and it’s still a building site.’

Hundreds of people turned out on Saturday to support plans to reopen the main pool.

People of all ages got to see for themselves the progress being made by Hilsea Lido Pool for the People, which took over the complex last year.

The old changing rooms have been transformed into a watersports centre, weeds have been cleared, and the toilets revamped – and volunteers say this is just the beginning with plans to reopen the pool next year.

There was a nostalgic exhibition for visitors, featuring old photographs and woollen swimming costumes.

Callum Hart, 38, from Hilsea, who visited with his family, said: ‘We really want to get this pool opened. We want this place to come back to life.’

Regarding the delays, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, council leader, said: ‘We have had some difficulties with the contractors doing the work, which we couldn’t have expected.

‘But we have been working with them and we are making sure things can be completed as quickly as possible.’