CAMPAIGNERS have insisted that the coronavirus pandemic has not dampened their enthusiasm to bring a lido back to Abergavenny.

The Abergavenny Lido Group, which wants to site an outdoor swimming pool in the town’s Bailey Park, was in the process of putting together a feasibility study when the first lockdown was announced last March.

A year ago this week, campaigners braved the winter chill to do an open water swim at Broadstone Park in the Forest of Dean to raise funds and awareness of their plans - but that unexpectedly turned out to be their last major fundraising event to date.

Explaining the challenges the group has faced over the last year, chairman George Frost said: “It was such a shame (when the first lockdown started) because we were really building up some momentum and we were in the process of getting some big sponsors on board.

“Every event since has been cancelled - including the May ball, picnics in the park, and the regular monthly meet-ups at Abergavenny Hotel.

“But it hasn’t dampened our spirits, and we’re still raring to go when we can again.

“We’re in the process of a feasibility study to show to Monmouthshire council and investors, to prove to them that this lido can be self-sufficient.

“I think getting in the outdoors is even more popular because of the pandemic. I’m sure there is a demand for this (lido).”


The old lido at Bailey Park, which opened in 1938 and closed in 2002, proved popular during the summer months, but Mr Frost says plans for a new one includes ways it can draw in people all year round.

“The plans will involve heating insulation at the lido, which is a real game changer," he said.

"The plan is for this to be really modern to make sure that it is still open to the elements, but it is comfortable in the winter months too.”

Mr Frost became chairman of the group around 18 months ago, after offering his expertise in design and advertising through Abergavenny Voice community group on Facebook.

“I’ve lived in Abergavenny for seven years now and I’ve heard an awful lot of people say how much they miss the lido and the community atmosphere around it.

“I’m an outdoors addict and have some experience in trying to get ventures off the ground, so I thought I’d offer. We envisage it being a brilliant facility for our community.”

He believes the pandemic has only added to the appeal of an outdoor exercise and social space.

“We have spent a lot of time on our devices at home, perhaps alone, and I’m seeing so many more people on my walks up the Sugar Loaf now.

“I think we have become even more connected with our outdoor spaces, and I’m excited by what that could mean for us and the lido.”

On plans for 2021, he said: “We can’t wait to meet up again as a group when regulations allow, and we’re hoping to pick up some steam again in the not too distant future. Once we get that momentum going, I do believe our mission is very possible.”