Building work began in earnest earlier this month at Shap Swimming Pool. Local builders Cox and Allen of Kendal started on site on Monday 12th February in conditions we can only describe as wintry! After three years of hard work, planning and fundraising, work started this week on the refurbishment project to upgrade facilities at England’s highest open air heated swimming pool.

Back in autumn 2016 Ben Cunliffe Architects were appointed lead consultant for the refurbishment and upgrade of the facilities at Shap Pool. At over 900ft above sea level Shap Swimming Pool is England’s highest heated outdoor swimming pool. Managed entirely by volunteers it serves the community of Shap and beyond, opening from May until September every year.

Built over 30 years ago, the Shap Pool committee members were conscious that renovation work was required to ensure the pool continued to serve the community for another 30 years.

Ben Cunliffe Architects were approached to design alterations to the fabric and appearance of the pool as well as upgrading the heating system to a more efficient and environmentally friendly system. BCA were well placed to work on the scheme having designed swimming pools for the private and public sector but an outdoor pool in one of wettest places in the UK was a first for us.

The new design includes a new entrance area, incorporating cubicles into changing rooms, creating a disabled/family changing room, rain/sun shelter for the baby pool, replacing doors and windows, installing an air source heat pump as well as a general upgrade of the external areas. The little ones will be delighted to see that a slide is also included in the budget!

Sport England were approached to assist with funding the project and a grant of £75,000 has been awarded towards the cost of refurbishing the 30 year old pool. Other grants have been received from Shap Parish Council, the Second Chance charity shop and other local fundraising activities. Funds are still being raised for the refurbishment project so if you think you can help please get in touch at [email protected].