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Boost in fight to reopen Beccles outdoor pool

PUBLISHED: 11:43 23 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:52 06 July 2010

Emily Dennis

The long-running battle to get Beccles outdoor pool open again has taken a big leap forward with the group running the facility finally achieving charitable status.

The long-running battle to get Beccles outdoor pool open again has taken a big leap forward with the group running the facility finally achieving charitable status.

Last night directors of Beccles Lido Limited also revealed the project had been shortlisted for a major grant that could see renewable energy equipment installed at the swimming pool.

In gaining charitable status, the company will now be in a good position to apply for grants and claim for Gift Aid tax relief, which adds 25pc to donations.

Maureen Saunders, a director of Beccles Lido Limited, said she was “over the moon” at the news. “It's been a long road,” she said. “You get these ups and downs, but everything's very positive at the moment.”

Graham Elliott, district councillor for Beccles North and a staunch supporter of the project, added that gaining charitable status was “another important milestone en-route to getting Beccles Lido open again.”

Beccles Lido Limited had to convince the Charity Commission that their aims were charitable and for the overall benefit of the community.

Directors also had to prove that the group will eventually become the owners of the pool, a process they are currently negotiating with Waveney District Council.

Mrs Saunders said they were currently “thrashing out the finer details” of ownership and they hoped to be owners by Christmas.

Beccles Lido Limited was also celebrating after being short-listed for a major grant that would see the pool receive energy generating equipment.

The project is now in the final three in the eastern region being considered for a share of £2m to be allocated by the British Gas Green Streets programme.

The programme gives money to community projects wishing to be powered by alternative energy sources.

The group has applied for funding to install a pool cover with solar panels, which will not only save but generate energy to heat the main pool and the toddler's pool. Funding is also being sought to fix a leak in the pool and upgrade the boiler system.

Those involved in the project will present their case before a panel in Norwich on Monday night, when a decision will also be made.

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