Disused reservoir could be transformed into 'wild swimming pool'

A disused reservoir in a Bradford District park could become an outdoor swimming pool if a new campaign proves successful. Yorkshire Swim Works hoped to transform the old Kettlewell Reservoir in the St Ives Estate near Bingley into a swimming facility that will also include saunas and space for Pilates classes.

The group, a community interest company, hopes to attract £5m investment to the scheme, which they believe will bring up to £2.4m to the local economy each year. The group had been set up in the hope of creating an outdoor swimming facility at Thornton Moor, near Denholme.

But the group was outbid during the auction for the former reservoir site, and decided to search for other locations in Yorkshire. They believe the site at Grade II listed St Ives, a park owned and run by Bradford Council, will now be the home of the Yorkshire Swim Works, and has started a public consultation.

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The group hopes the pool will aid the regeneration of the entire St Ives Estate. Announcing the plans on Monday, the group said the facility: “Would deliver an accessible, inclusive safe swimming facility hidden in the existing reservoir. Naturally filtered, the pool would feature six lanes of 50m for swimming and aqua classes and a large lake area for dipping, splashing, swimming and more.

“Additional buildings will host saunas, open rooms for classes such as yoga and Pilates and the reception and changing rooms. Early concept drawings have been released for public consumption. Expected to attract £5m in social and private investment, the project would see the creation of over 20 full time permanent jobs, 25 part time permanent jobs and over 100 summer part time jobs.

“YSW CIC are predicting over 100,000 swims a year plus over 5,000 visitors to the area to stay in the attached lodges bringing tourist spend of over £2.45m.” Bradford Council recently spent over £200,000 refurbishing the play area at the popular park, but other parts have been neglected in recent years.

St Ives Mansion, a privately owned building on the site, was badly damaged in a fire earlier this year after years of laying empty. YSW added: “The park has huge potential and there are now opportunities to secure funding to continue the work started with the play area, with the restoration of the 19th Century buildings and gardens, as well as regaining its former Green Flag status.”

An artist impression of the Yorkshire Swim Works -Credit:Yorkshire Swim Works
An artist impression of the Yorkshire Swim Works -Credit:Yorkshire Swim Works

Caroline Kindy, founder of Yorkshire Swim Works CIC said: “We will be looking to work with the public and the existing tenants and stakeholders of the St Ives Estate to ensure that Yorkshire Swim Works benefits the entire community in a wider regeneration of the Estate.”

Kersten England, Chair of the UK City of Culture in 2025 said: “We know how vital physical activity is for mental and physical health and well-being. We know outdoor swimming is increasingly popular. And as Chair of the UK City of Culture in 2025 I hope this facility will be enjoyed by Bradford District’s families and communities in the coming years – a place to come together, to play together and to create stories and memories that last a lifetime.”

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Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Portfolio Holder for Healthy People & Places, Bradford Council said: “Outdoor swimming has become an increasingly popular activity over recent years but would-be swimmers suffer from a lack of facilities generally and in the district.

“Yorkshire Swim Works have brought forward an exciting proposal that would provide more people with an all year round, high quality, safe and accessible facility. The project would provide much needed new jobs and stimulate further interest and funding in the estate. The Council at this stage is committed in principle to working with Yorkshire Swim Works to deliver the project and its health and employment benefits.”

The news of the planned outdoor pool is the second swimming related boost welcomed in Bingley this year. In March the Government announced it had approved Bradford Council’s bid for Levelling Up Funding to reopen Bingley’s existing indoor pool. Members of Bingley Town Council were recently given an update on the pool refurbishment plan.

A statement from the Town Council said: “Bradford Council have had surveyors in to assess the pool, and are considering three options, two of which are refurbishments of the pool and one is a re-build. All these options being looked at will then go to the Chief Executive before progressing.” To have your say on the consultation click here.