King's Meadow lido plan group in money struggle

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King Meadows baths
Image caption,
The group wants an ice rink installed over the lido during the winter months

Campaigners hoping to raise £2.5m to redevelop an Edwardian swimming pool have admitted they are struggling, with just £5,000 donated so far.

King's Meadow Campaign was given two years to save King's Meadow lido in Reading when a plan to build a hotel at the site was rejected.

But groups will not commit funds until the site gets planning permission.

It is hoped permission will be agreed in the next few months and the money raised by the September 2011 deadline.

A previous application hit trouble when a pool with eight changing rooms was deemed too large.

Bob O'Neill, from the group, said: "To apply for the big grants and funding we have got to have a planning application accepted.

"No-one is going to fund an opened-ended project.

"We don't want to get to the stage next September without the money needed, so we are working hard with the council to push forward."

The group's plan would include an ice rink installed over the pool in winter months and a new cafeteria.

The Grade II listed 1902 lido has not been in use since 1974.

Campaigners had opposed a plan by preferred developers Askett Hawk which would have seen the pool saved and a hotel built alongside.

The group called for a community-focused approach rather than a business site with little public access to the surrounding green areas.

Reading Borough Council said it doubted planning issues over the application could be overcome and rejected the plan.

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