Over 45% of respondents to our poll asking whether the council should be doing more to open the Lido said that they shouldn’t. Claire Simsek pointed out that there was difficulty enforcing social distancing in places already allowed to open — parks and shops and playgrounds — and that although the Lido was missed it wasn’t worth the risk.
Nearly 31% of people said that there should definitely be greater steps taken to see the historic site reopened, perhaps for a shorter swim season that extended further into the autumn. Comments on our social media were overwhelmingly in favour, with Jo Weedon adding: “Yes, I think young people especially need some options for activities and some structure after such a long time with schools closed, and an outdoor pool is quite a safe option in current circumstances.”
Those who said that they would like the pool to be open again but understood the reasons it was unlikely made up 22% of the votes, with people who didn’t know rounding out the final 1.5% of responses.
Despite announcing on July 22 that the Lido would not be opening for the 2020 season, the offer of £10,000 from a former Mayor and leader of the City Council may have altered plans. John Peach said he would donate the money to ensure the Lido could be up and running before the summer’s end, and MP Paul Bristow has also called for the pool to be opened.
A spokesperson for the city council said: “We understand the desire to leave no stone unturned in efforts to work with Vivacity to see whether the iconic and much loved Peterborough Lido could open – even if only for a few weeks – this year.
“Public Health advice when Peterborough infection rates began to rise ten days ago, putting the area on a Government ‘concern’ list, was that we should rapidly increase local actions to halt the spread of infection.
“We have done this, and although we still have infection rates which are high compared to the national picture, our rising trend has now started to flatten.
“Although it is early days, we hope that residents will continue to take action to stay safe and reduce the spread of infection, and that the trend will continue to turn around.
“In the meantime we are happy to continue talks with Vivacity, Mr Bristow and others about whether practical and financial offers of help could be put in place which may allow a short season for the Lido, if the trends in COVID-19 infection mean that the risk to public health is sufficiently reduced.”
According to 45% of our poll respondents, the efforts and financial offers may be better concentrated elsewhere – but the majority vote can perhaps be found in the 53% of people who were split in strength of feeling but said they would like to see Peterborough’s historic pool back.