An East Neuk village’s coastal swimming pool could be open and restored as soon as next summer.
The West Braes Project has secured the funding needed to carry out the first phase of work on the Pittenweem pool, after spending years hosting fundraising events and filling out application forms for funding.
The first phase would see repairs made to the walkways, the height of the pool increased, safety islands installed along the edges of the pool, and work done to make it more watertight.
Surveys are now being carried out on the pool, before plans are submitted to Fife Council for approval.
The project team is hoping that work could start on rejuvenating the pool as early as February. The work is expected to last around three months, meaning it could be restored in time for the busy summer season.
The aim is to improve disabled access and create a purpose-built building nearby which could house a heritage centre, toilet and shower facilities, and a community-run cafe.
“The pool had been laying derelict since the early ‘80s,” explained West Braes Project chair, David Thomson.
“One of my mates came along and cleaned the concrete and cleared the seaweed. He invited me along one day and we said it wouldn’t take much to get it done up.
“It’ll bring people to the village, have a knock-on effect on tourism and local businesses.”
The group has received hundreds of letters of support, including one from the House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow.
The group has also had support from their trustees, dozens of volunteers, Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, Fife Leader, Fife Environment Trust and Fife Voluntary Action.
David also paid tribute to John Addison, who was the group’s specialist in structural engineering. John died earlier this year, just days before the project secured the funding it needed to take it forward. There are plans to put a memorial plaque next to the pool when it the improvements are made.
“He was a great man,” said David. “When he saw this he lit up. You could see the vision in his head come together. He passed away in April a week before we got the funding. We’d like to do this for John.”
One of the many group’s which enjoys using the pool at the moment, is a wild swimming group based in Edinburgh. Three swimmers travelled from Portobello to take a dip in the Pittenweem pool at the weekend.
One member, Dawn Craig, who swam in 52 locations around Scotland last year, told the Mail it was one of their favourite places to swim.
We come through here because it’s amazing,” she said. “The location is amazing. And we don’t have anything like this in Edinburgh.
“It’s great to have an actual pool where you can feel safe in the water. It resets your head and clears your mind. You’ve got the huge swim family. You end up with friends and go other places to swim.”
To keep up-to-date with the West Braes Project, search for the group on Facebook. You can also find more information on thewestbraes.blogspot.com.