Sandford Parks Lido to install solar panels to save money

An exterior view of the pool at Sandford Parks Lido

Sandford Parks Lido is a Grade II-listed site in Cheltenham

Plans to install solar panels at a Grade-II listed lido to help save it from closure have been approved.

Cheltenham’s Sandford Parks Lido was forced to come up with proposals after facing financial difficulties because of rising energy bills.

Bosses submitted the plans in April and say the lido’s energy bill will rise from £51,000 to £178,500 in September.

Councillor Paul Baker backed the plan saying the lido was “without doubt one of the many jewels” in the town.

Julie Sargent, CEO of Sandford Parks Lido, took over responsibility of the leisure facility 27 years ago with 12 other voluntary trustees.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Ms Sargent told the planning committee the lido, which opened in 1935, provides a heated season for 28 weeks and attracts more than 200,000 visitors.

‘Financial crisis’

The team has invested more than £3m and “diligently” balanced its heritage with the need for modern technology, she said.

“We have committed to this journey with the interest of keeping the town’s lido open,” Ms Sargent said.

“The leisure sector is facing a financial crisis. Many swimming pools will close due to unmanageable energy costs.

“We have to think differently about our energy use where it comes from and to ensure we are running as economically as possible.”

A survey conducted by trustees in 2022 found the lido would become financially unsustainable in its current form, but the solar panels would help it stave off closure.

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