THE COUNTY'S only open air swimming pool has been saved from closure.

The Brightlingsea Lido, in Promenade Way, has been under threat of closure for the past three years as there was no budget to maintain it.

However the outdoor pool, which was owned by Tendring Council, has been handed down as an asset to Brightlingsea Town Council following a series of talks to save it.

It will now become a community project, and work has already started to give it a new lease of life.

Mick Barry, town councillor overseeing the project, said: "The pool will be run by a charitable trust. It will become a community-owned pool.

"It was due to close last year but we negotiated a deal to keep it open, we completed a business plan and have a 50 year lease.

"There is a lot of support in the town, we are getting lots of people helping out with cleaning and painting."

The aim is to make the pool accessible for all, as there is currently no disabled access or changing facilities.

Mr Barry added: "We want to keep it as a tourist attraction as it's the only open air pool in Essex, and to close it would have been a loss in the town."

The provisional opening date is May 28, but this is dependent on weather.

Mr Barry said: "It has been a task getting a team together but it now has its own momentum and it's a great example of the community coming together. "We will be applying for grants and sponsorship to revamp and reshape it, and we may even find renewable energy sources to heat it.

"It will be saving an asset."

Tendring Council confirmed a lease has been signed by Brightlingsea Town Council taking over the open-air pool.

While still owned by the district council, as of April 2 all management of the lido rests with the town council.

Carlo Guglielmi, district councillor responsible for finance and corporate resources, said he was delighted a deal had been agreed.

He said: “This is a great example of partnership working between Tendring Council and town councils, where local councillors can take a lead on assets within their community.

“The lease will allow Brightlingsea Town Council to focus its efforts on the open-air pool and running it for the benefit of the community for years to come.

“I wish the town council all the best in running the facility.”