OPENING a new lido would provide the 'jewel in the crown' of Otley's riverside renaissance.

That is the view of MP Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) following an open day by the Friends of Otley Lido that attracted hundreds of people.

The group says it was delighted with the turnout and 'overwhelming support' that was shown on Saturday, August 4.

The event was held at the site of the town's former lido in Wharfemeadows Park - where the Friends want to create a new heated, open-air pool with retractable roof.

Visitors found out more on the day about the scheme through presentations, architect drawings and talks by group members and the specialist businesses they are working with.

Mr Sobel, who attended with his family, was one of several guests who spoke strongly in favour of the initiative.

He said: "There is a renaissance on the banks of the Wharfe with boats back on the river and the opening of restaurants such as Buon Apps.

"A re-opened lido would be the jewel in the crown and serve as a message that we are serious in Otley about promoting our values, culture and lifestyle."

Otley Town Councillor Ray Georgeson (Lib Dem, Danefield) and ward Councillor Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) also spoke in favour of a new lido.

Cllr Georgeson said: "Congratulations to Leonie Sharp and the lido team for producing an excellent event that positively showcased their ambitions.

"A great turnout of visitors and local residents will have seen for themselves the efforts the Friends are putting into delivering their vision.

"I hope that our community can really rally round now as the Friends step up their fundraising efforts."

Cllr Downes said: "A lido will be a huge asset to Otley and you can see the enthusiasm within the community for one.

"It will help Wharfemeadows to become a leisure destination.

"Lidos are coming back into popularity and I can’t wait for Otley to get one.

"I have pledged my support to help deliver the project."

Posting on the group's Facebook page afterwards, Friends of Otley Lido Chair Leonie Sharp said: "What an amazing day.

"A huge thank you to the 400-plus people who came through our secret doors today to see behind the scenes of the Otley Lido and hear about our plans to restore the outdoor pool for our community.

"From our committee to you all we are delighted with how well it went today and so enthused by the overwhelming support, ideas and positive comments.

"We gathered all your comments and suggestions and ideas and we will be feeding this all back into our next planning committee meeting.

"Thanks to everyone who came to share our enthusiasm to Make A Big Splash for our town, our community, for Wharfedale and the resurgence and restoration of our lido heritage nationally."

The Friends need to raise £55,000 to move the project to its next stage - for more details visit the Friends of Otley Lido Facebook page.