Lido campaigner throws support behind town's swimming pool bid

Richard Crook, chairman of Active Fakenham, and the lido in Beccles

Richard Crook, chairman of Active Fakenham, has thrown his support behind the town's bid for an indoor swimming pool. Pictured is the lido at Beccles - Credit: Archant

A key campaigner for a lido in Fakenham has voiced his support for an indoor swimming pool bid. 

Launched last April, the Fakenham lido campaign was championed by Active Fakenham and its chairman, Richard Crook.

It received widespread support and an accompanying petition gathered 1,672 signatures.

Fakenham Academy's pool will close after the last aquafit sessions on August 18 and August 20.

The old swimming pool at Fakenham Academy, which closed in 2014 - Credit: Archant

However, after North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) bid for cash from the Community Renewal Fund was rejected in November, the lido plans went quiet. 

Fakenham is now looking to secure funding for the construction of a new indoor swimming pool, with the town council and NNDC working to secure funding from the government’s £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund.

While Mr Crook confirmed that his own team's plans were still alive, he admitted they might only come to fruition if the Levelling Up bid is unsuccessful - something he would rather not see. 

Richard Crook of Active Fakenham has outlined ambitious plans for events in the town. Picture: Matth

Richard Crook of Active Fakenham has outlined ambitious plans for events in the town. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Having campaigned for more than 15 years, he simply wants to see the return of some form of pool in Fakenham. 

“It will be a great thing if our town can get a swimming pool which is accessible for everyone,” he said.

“Despite it going quiet with the lido, the team is still offering it as a fall-back option, if anyone should need it.

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“We wish the councils all the best with their bid and really hope it is successful - and that the building of a swimming pool happens.

“But, if not, there is a discussion to build a lido in the town which has a lot of advantages to it, and we have done the groundwork to perhaps make this a reality."

File photot of Beccles Lido on a very warm and sunny day. Picture: James Bass

It is hoped the success of Beccles Lido can be emulated in Fakenham - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2012

Mr Crook has gone to great lengths over the years to secure funding, carrying out a draft feasibility study and forming a team to help make the project a reality. 

They include award-winning architectural firm Hudson Architects, the chief executive of Beccles Lido, Shaun Crowley, and Swim England. 

Mr Crook also highlighted how the pool could create 50 jobs in the town, and hopefully be carbon-neutral.

Dozens of people in the town have voiced their support for the proposals in the past. 

Details on which Levelling Up bids have been successful are expected to be announced later this year.