A GROUP hoping to re-open Otley Lido has been given a year to put a multi-million pound plan together.
The Friends of Otley Lido announced the 12 month exclusivity deal with Leeds City Council, which owns the Wharfemeadows Park site, last Saturday.
Opened in the 1920s, the lido enjoyed decades of popularity before its decline, closing in 1993.
Since then the site has deteriorated and been regarded by many in recent years as an eyesore, with the recent flooding causing further damage to a retaining wall.
Friends of Otley Lido Chairman Leonie Sharp said the deal with Leeds represented a great chance to bring the attraction back to the town, providing residents got behind it.
She said: "We can manage this but only if we have the support of our community - not just in Otley but in Leeds and wider afield.
"We need everybody on board to make this a reality.
"Our pool was the highlight of many folks' experiences from 1923 on and could be a reality again if we have the backing of all the community, businesses and local folk.
"We are asking people to join us as individuals and for the business community to back us as well."The site has been for too long an eyesore and this is such an opportunity for our town to bring a vibrant leisure facility to Otley."
She added that about £5 million would have to be raised for the scheme to proceed, and that the aim was for the new pool to be heated - ideally by using locally generated hydro-electric power.
The announcement has been welcomed by ward Councillors Colin Campbell, Ryk Downes and Sandy Lay (all Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon).
Coun Downes said: "We met council officers before Christmas to discuss the site's future and recommended this approach."
Coun Lay added: "We felt it was important that the Friends group were given time to work on what are ambitious plans, and we are happy to do everything we can to support them."
Coun Campbell, meanwhile, believes the project could result in "a major attraction for visitors and residents alike."
The Friends group is asking supporters to join them - membership costs £10, with all proceeds going towards establishing a lido.
For more details visit www.otleylido.worpress.com, see the campaign's Facebook page, or send an e-mail to Friendsofotleylido@gmail.com .