The Friends of Stratford Park Lido are a local community group based in Stroud, Gloucestershire. We work with Stroud District Council and SLM Leisure to develop the Stratford Park Lido in Stroud, restoring and protecting it as a high-quality community heritage asset.
Stroud Urban District Council commissioned the building of the lido which was built and opened in 1937 by the council’s engineer and surveyor FS Cutler at a cost of around £20,000. It comprises a 55 yard x 18 yard swimming pool fed by spring water, a parabolic diving board, art deco fountain, changing rooms and other outbuildings, and is next to Stratford Park Leisure Centre built in 1974.
Although initially heated before the war, the Lido is now a cold-water pool, open 13 weeks a year during the summer months. The visitor numbers have been falling and it now receives an average of between 5,000 and 8,500 visits each summer, out of a total of 650,000 visits to the entire Leisure Centre site per year.
The award-winning Stratford Park also contains a museum, arboretum, lake, open space and other important features which are rich in heritage, promote health and well-being and a sense of place. The Lido and entire park are part of the Stratford Park Conservation Area designated in 1990. The Museum in the Park in Stroud contains information in its collection on the historic value of the Lido to the local community.
The Lido is owned by Stroud District Council (SDC) and managed by SLM Leisure. SDC’s current contract with SLM is for the period 2011-2021, with SLM being responsible for the strategic and operational management of the Leisure Centre and Lido.
The Stroud community recognise that the Lido is a well-loved community asset with key heritage features; which occupies an important place in the community’s history and continues to enhance local people’s quality of life.
Timeline for Lido’s Development Plan
A group of local volunteers was awarded a £10,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and funds from the Stroud Town Council which were used to undertake a Feasibility Study to help shape future applications for funding to update the pool and its facilities.
Consultants Tricolor Associates completed a feasibility study to explore options for the pool. The Study was completed during the Lido’s open season in 2017 and included a community consultation, detailed options appraisal and project evaluation. Almost 2,000 residents gave their views, and considered options for the future of the pool. A report on the study was published in November 2017.
Following the study, SDC commissioned a ‘condition’ report which detailed the condition of the Lido’s machinery and overall operation, and included the development of the Lido in its Corporate Delivery Plan 2018-2022.
The group of volunteers also formed the Friends of Stratford Park Lido as an unincorporated group and applied for Listed Building status for the Lido. Following the application, Historic England granted the Lido’s Diving Platform Listed building status II in recognition that is was the one of only four inter-war concrete diving platforms known to survive in England and was the only one which was not listed. The Stroud Town Council also awarded the Group further seed funds to contribute towards the development of a business plan for the Lido site.
In the meantime, the Friends, SDC and SLM will also be working together to plan for improvements for the 2019 season.
The Friends of Stratford Park Lido has started work with SDC to develop a business plan for the Lido – which would include detailed plans and costs for sustaining, restoring and protecting the Lido as a high-quality community heritage asset – with a view to making major capital funding applications to fund these plans.