A NEW children’s splash pool will be created at Hilsea Lido after councillors agreed to spend £400,000 on the family facility.
The pool, to open in August, will replace the current one which was damaged in the freezing conditions of last winter.
Portsmouth City Council’s leader for sports and leisure, Cllr Lee Hunt, agreed to the plan.
He said: ‘I am pleased to agree that the new pool should be built. It’s a place I think people across the city can enjoy and I hope it can be open for all in time for good weather this summer.’
The redesigned facility will contain two pools no deeper than five inches, with islands, bridges, rubber ‘stepping stones’ and water sprinklers. The council rejected ‘patching up’ the existing pool, which would have cost £96,000, and would not have been guaranteed to last one summer season.
It also refused proposals to spend £184,000 on fully repairing the pool, because it would have required a similar amount to be spent every two or three years.
And it decided against replacing it with another identical facility, because it would have cost £448,000, and required £45,500 per year running costs. Because the water in the new pools will be so shallow, the council will not have to employ three lifeguards, cutting annual costs by up to two thirds.
Its design was expected to be passed earlier this month. But concerns from Hilsea ward councillors and the Hilsea Lido Pool for the People Trust, which runs the Lido next to the children’s pool, led Cllr Hunt to defer the decision. In the fortnight which followed, the councillors and trust leader Sabrina Richards contacted the council to say they felt the council’s plan was acceptable. But Cosham’s Tory Cllr Terry Henderson raised objections.
He said: ‘This is an historic facility, a jewel in the crown of Portsmouth, and the people of Cosham have told me they want it to be replaced like for like.
But Cllr Hunt said: ‘We couldn’t get Heritage Lottery funding for the ongoing costs, which are the issue.
We have to make sure these pools can run at the lowest cost possible.’