The well-loved Hinksey Outdoor Pool is set to open early this year from 29 March, in line with the Government rules on reopening outdoor leisure.
Work is underway to fix a significant leak that forced the pool out of service last year. The City Council and its leisure partner, Fusion Lifestyle, are prioritising the work to bring back swimming at Hinksey as early as possible.
The work being undertaken will fix a leak of around 35 litres per minute which was discovered last summer just before the pool was due to open.
It is expected that there will be some coronavirus safety restrictions when the pool reopens, but outdoor swimming is predicted to be popular this spring.
The pool will be heated to a lower temperature than usual to reduce the running costs, as covid restrictions will likely mean a lower income from gate receipts.
Other leisure provision
The Council and Fusion are aiming to bring Hinksey Outdoor Pool back into use as one of the first leisure facilities to reopen after lockdown. Other leisure centres - Ferry Leisure, Barton Leisure, Leys Pools & Leisure, Rose Hill and the ice rink - remain closed, and Fusion and the Council are working on plans on how to reopen gym, swim, ice and exercise classes as restrictions begin to ease.
The government roadmap makes clear that the earliest date for any return of indoor leisure is 12 April, but this date is dependent on coronavirus data.
The Council is also exploring how it can reduce carbon emissions at Hinksey Pool through £1.6m from BEIS' Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund. The 100% grant funding has been awarded to implement a water source heat pump to heat the swimming pool supported with battery storage, heat storage and electricity from a solar PV system.
Councillor Linda Smith, Cabinet Member for Parks and Leisure, said, "We expect Hinksey outdoor pool to be as popular as ever this year after this winter's restrictions and the limited holiday options set to be available this summer.
"We started the repair works at Hinksey and prioritised it for opening before the government announced the timetable for the leisure industry being allowed to restart, now outdoor pools can reopen from 29 March, and I’m delighted we are in a position to welcome swimmers back to Hinksey from that date.
"There will be sessions for families to enjoy a casual swim as well as lane sessions for serious swimmers.
"We are working hard on bringing other facilities back into use as we’re allowed too, including our indoor gyms, fitness studios, indoor pools and Oxford’s iconic ice rink, but it must be done safely and in line with government guidelines."