THE GROUP hoping to relaunch Otley lido has been assured the site is not being sold - following an early New Year scare.

The Friends of Otley Lido has been working on plans to open a new outdoor pool on the former lido plot, in Wharfemeadows Park, for four years.

But last week they were shocked to learn that the land was included in a list of 'surplus' sites that Leeds City Council is aiming to dispose of by 2025.

The group, which has an exclusivity agreement with the council while it works on its scheme, feared the worst but has since been assured that nothing has changed in terms of its plans.

In fact the city council has now invited the Friends to enter discussions about transferring the old lido site over to them.

Friends of Otley Lido Chair Leonie Sharp said: "As a result of our communications over the weekend I have received reassurances that can put our minds to rest.

"Effectively, our site remains on Leeds City Council’s lists of assets to be ‘disposed of’ (not sold) but under the exclusivity agreement we have in place with the council.

"We are now invited to have a formal discussion with the council about a proposed asset transfer of the site which we will be discussing at our next meeting."

The discussions to clarify the position involved Ms Sharp along with ward councillors, the Leader of the city council, MP Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West), executive officers and other council staff.

After being contacted about the potential risk of the site being sold, Mr Sobel wrote to Leeds to ask that the ownership of the plot be transferred to the Friends via a Community Asset Transfer.

He said: "I have long supported an asset transfer to the lido and am pleased that this is now being explored.

"I have also received confirmation from the council that the For Sale board will be removed from the site.

"The council have also agreed to meet with me and Friends of Otley Lido to explore a future arrangement that will see the lido returned to the people of Otley."

Such transfers are used to pass on management or ownership of public land or buildings to a community organisation, for less than their market value, to help deliver a local social, economic or environmental benefit.

The Friends had become alarmed after finding out that the lido site was one of those included in an item - Capital Receipts Programme Update and Approval of Future Disposals - being considered by the council's Executive Board this week.

The lido site, listed for disposal in 2024-25, is one of dozens of assets - Otley Civic Centre and the town's North Parade depot are also included - that were included in the document, with the council aiming to raise more than £90 million.

But the local authority has since clarified that the 'disposal' of the land 'relates to completing the transaction with the Friends of Otley Lido, not any other sale'.

Executive Member for Resources, Councillor James Lewis, said: "We want to help secure a community-focused future for the space in Wharfemeadows Park.

"The site is not for sale and Leeds City Council plans to continue working with the Friends of Otley Lido group as they work up plans to transform the space into an outdoor pool complex."