OTLEY'S old lido site is to be sold sparking hopes of a new riverside leisure development at Wharfemeadows Park.

Landowners Leeds City Council are now marketing the home of the park's former outdoor swimming pool – long regarded as an eyesore – on their website.

They say the property, which opened as a Lido back in 1924, offers "a unique opportunity to create a riverside development for leisure/cafe-type uses".

Ward councillors have welcomed the prospect of having the area revitalised, as long as the new development is backed by the public, complements the park and includes supervised public toilets.

Cllr Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley and Yeadon), who last year called for action to have the lido site improved, said: "A sympathetic development could complement the riverside walk and public facilities currently being built on the south side of the river.

"We will be asking Leeds to have a full public consultation on any proposals to ensure they have local support."

Ideas put forward by the public in 2014, in response to Cllr Downes' appeal, included opening a new outdoor pool, creating a fitness centre and youth hub, and opening a new cafe with toilets.

Whatever scheme is finally approved, Cllr Sandy Lay (Lib Dem, Otley and Yeadon) is sure it will represent an improvement.

He said: "It will be a shame to see the old pool site disappear, but the existing derelict buildings are an eyesore and detract from Wharfemeadows, which is one of the busiest parks in Leeds."

The city council is inviting expressions of interest on the basis of taking out a 125-year-long lease of the property.

Cllr Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley and Yeadon) said this represents a chance to create something that could boost visitor numbers to the park and town.

He added: "This could be an opportunity for a development to complement the existing facilities at Wharfemeadows Park.

"Obviously, we would want to have a top-quality development, which provides a range of facilities for residents and visitors.

"At the same time, we need to ensure the bowling vlub – Wharfemeadows Bowling Club is based at the site – is provided for and that any development includes supervised, public toilets."

The lack of an outdoor swimming pool was flagged up by some of those who responded to an Otley Neighbourhood Plan questionnaire that was sent to thousands of residents last year.

Visit leeds.gov.uk/property for more details about the plot.

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