Calls for an Olympic-sized swimming pool in Peterborough have been made as the city looks to update its sports strategy.
City councillors have urged the authority to look into investing in a 50m pool to coincide with the new University of Peterborough, which is scheduled to open in 2022.
Members of the council’s Growth, Environment and Resources Scrutiny committee meeting said the pool, which they suggested could go behind the Lido in Bishop’s Road, would increase sports participation and bring investment into the city.
Cllr Marco Cereste, who as council leader once unveiled plans for an Olympic-sized pool at the Lido, which would have had a domed roof over it, said: “It’s a fact that if you have a 50m Olympic pool the amount of participation you would get in the city would be enormous.”
Cllr Richard Ferris said: “If we had a 50m pool, with galas and events it would pay for itself.” Cllr John Peach added: “If tinpot places like Corby have an Olympic pool, why not Peterborough?”
Earlier in the meeting, the council’s head of culture and leisure, Lisa Roberts, said the evidence suggested there should be a new 25m pool in the north of the city.
The recommendation for a new 50m pool will now be considered by a working group of key sporting stakeholders in Peterborough, including sports service providers Vivacity, who will unveil the new sports strategy in the spring.
The City of Peterborough Swimming Club said an Olympic-sized swimming pool would be 50m long with eight to 10 lanes and a 25m swim down pool, which could also be used for teaching people how to swim. Club chairman Richard Leech said an Olympic-sized pool would be a “massive benefit to the city.”
He added: “There is compelling evidence it can make a huge difference to people’s fitness if they have pool space.
“As a club we have a fantastic working relationship with Vivacity, but they are limited with the volume of pool space they get. They can only provide a certain amount to use and they have to serve the public - it’s a fine balancing act.”
Mr Leech said he knew of a club in High Wycombe which rose from 250 members to 600 after upgrading from a 25m pool to a 50m pool with eight lanes. The main campus for the new university is proposed to go near the 25m Regional Pool in Bishop’s Road.