A COMMUNITY group is hoping to raise £55,000 within weeks as it pushes to re-open Otley Lido.

Otley pool has been closed since 1993 but a group formed last year, Friends of Otley Lido, hope to restore the facility and return it to its former glories.

The group has been working for much of 2016 on plans to get a new pool up and running at the site of the original facility in Wharfemeadows Park.

It officially launched the latest, fundraising stage of its campaign at the annual Joe Town Memorial Swim in the River Wharfe, just a short distance from the former lido, on New Year's Day.

The Friends have also just opened a crowdfunding page where people can make donations up until February 14.

A spokesman said: “This might seem like an enormous amount, but Peckham Lido in a similar position raised £63,000 a week shy of their target.”

The money will go towards preparatory studies and a business plan needed to attract funding from groups such as the National Lottery and Sports England.

Those will include architectural drawings of what the lido will look like and assessments of flooding risks and traffic and environmental impacts.

The group says the lido “now stands scruffy and derelict in the otherwise attractive riverside park.

“We plan to reopen the pool, offering an amazing year round facility, to become the focal heart of the wider community.

“The pool will be heated and open all year, with a retractable roof.”

The re-opening is expected to cost around £5 million.

Members were at last Sunday's swim, handing out flyers promoting their campaign and hot drinks to swimmers in return for donations.

Friends of Otley Lido Chairman Leonie Sharp said: “This pool would help bring the benefits of swimming back to the community.

“We need to raise £55,000 for a specialist business study, and once we’ve got that we can get out and try to attract the big funding.”

The lido opened in 1924, and was a major attraction drawing people to the town. The site is currently owned by Leeds City Council.

For more information visit otleylido.com and to donate on the crowdfunding page visit https://goo.gl/7rTDyN .