Cllr Tim Bick is to ask Cambridge City Council to consider opening its open air Jesus Green Lido all the year round.
Currently the lido opens from spring until autumn only. Cllr Bick, who leads the Liberal Democrats on the city council, represents the area which includes Jesus Green. He is raising the proposition after being approached by lido enthusiasts and he is himself a recent convert to lido swimming. His proposal will be debated at the city council meeting next Thursday, 22nd July which starts at 6pm.
Cllr Bick said: "Open water swimming has been undergoing a resurgence in recent years - and, along with the popularity of many types of outdoor exercise, this has been accelerated by the Covid pandemic. Its enthusiasts swear by its reinvigorating effects and its powers for wellbeing and mental health. Coming to this myself recently, I can vouch for the energising feeling that a cold water swim leaves you with.
"The current debate over river swimming at Grantchester shows just how popular cold water swimming is. The Jesus Green Lido is the joint longest lido in the country and was built next to the river to provide a similar experience to river swimming, but safer and more sustainable for a wider public.
"Across the country several lidos now stay open throughout the winter with many participants using wet suits to mitigate the cold.
"It is an open question how the council might make it viable to keep Jesus Green Lido open into the winter. It needs properly looking into. I’m calling for them to look at what the possible options might be, by discussing with the lido friends group and examining what works elsewhere. There are all sorts of variables, like the hours and days of opening and examples of different models of staffing including a volunteer element, as I believe is used in the winter at the other joint longest pool at Tooting Bec.
"It does seem to me that this is something the council really ought to consider as part of promoting healthy outdoor activity in a big way. With Jesus Green Lido, the city has a fantastic facility. It was only this year named in the top ten lidos in the country by National Geographic. We are lucky that it survived when open air swimming fell out of fashion and many others closed around the country. If we could make even greater use of it that would only be good."