THE group behind an ambitious plan to restore Saltcoats’ outdoor bathing pond have found a team of architects who specialise in designing pools.

Leading the group, Irene Campbell, who wants to see the town’s outdoor pool restored to its original beauty, has been holding online meetings with experts in the field of pools, or lidos, as they are called.

Architects Studio Octopi are currently working on a £180,000 project to build a giant lido in the middle of the River Thames to allow people to swim in the water.

And Irene believes if experts like Studio Octopi could be brought in, then Saltcoats Bathing Pond could be restored to its original glory.

At the moment they are working on restoring an outdoor pool in Aberdeen.

“These people are experts in their field and it would be fantastic to work with them on this project,” said Irene.

“We really need to get a feasibility study carried out and at the moment I am in talks with North Ayrshire Council via Councillor Jim Montgomerie to see if this is a possibility.

“It’s not going to be a case of just finding an engineer or a builder, we need experts to look at what is there and what remains from the original pool, then we can find out how much it would take to bring it back to life.”

Irene and Jim have been in talks with other outdoor pools and are planning a visit to some of them to see how they run, some are run by the community while others are run by private companies or leisure trusts.

“We have spoken to people involved in lidos in Cumbria and they are so popular up and down the country as the rise of tidal pools is also growing,” explained Irene.

“Some people have a list of lidos and tidal pools that they want to tick off on their bucket lists and it would be great to see Saltcoats at the top of that list.”

But Irene is realistic and knows this may not happen overnight.

Now, she is forming a group to take things forward.

“Our main focus is now raising money to get a feasibility study, we have contacted North Ayrshire Council and they seem to be okay with the idea of the pool re-opening,” said Irene.

“We want to make sure that we keep the residents of Winton Circus involved too and we will be carrying out a small consultation with them to make sure the community knows our plans at each stage.”