Sandford Parks Lido saved by installation of brand-new solar panels

As with many industries county and country-wide, the leisure sector is facing a financial crisis due to rising energy prices — and to protect one of Gloucestershire's most-loved swimming pools, Sandford Parks Lido will be installing brand-new solar panels to better manage costs.

By Zoe Gater  |  Published
The lido is starting its journey towards a more sustainable future, with the installation of solar panels on the plant room.

Cheltenham’s much-loved Sandford Parks Lido is offsetting energy bill costs with the installation of Solar PV Panels, as well as working on a full site design concept for the future protection of the lido.

Recognised as one of the best outdoor pools in Britain by National Geographic, the Grade II listed Sandford Parks Lido attracts over 200,000 visits per year, providing a diverse range of activities such as theatre, cinema, sporting challenges, the dog swim, heritage events, courses and lessons, community social events and charitable fundraising events for local good causes.

With fears that soaring energy prices could force the lido to close, the visitor attraction applied to Cheltenham Borough Council for planning permission back in March 2023, requesting the installation of a solar PV system capable of generating a good portion of energy needs, keeping the site financially viable.

The lido's current electricity contract expires in September 2023, at which point costs are predicted to increase from 14p to 49p per unit, increasing its current spend of £51,000 per year to £178,500.

On Tuesday 16 May 2023, the council granted permission for the sustainable development to go ahead, saving the iconic pool from possible financial disaster. 

In the design and access statement listed on the Cheltenham Borough Council Planning Portal, the CEO and Trustees of Sandford Lido Limited said: 'Everything we do, have done and plan to do is to provide the lido for our community and town.

'As part of our sustainability process we will encourage our visitors to utilise our facility in the most sustainable way, thus promoting the message that we all have a role to play in reducing the carbon footprint of Cheltenham.

'As custodians of the lido for over 27 years we truly believe this is the right thing to do on many fronts without adversely affecting our heritage.'

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