ABINGDON is set to a get a new outdoor swimming pool after a petition to refurbish it reached more than 700 signatures.

Tonight leader of the district council Matthew Barber confirmed the Abbey Meadow Outdoor Pool would be replaced and said it was an exciting opportunity to make the area more attractive to visitors all year round.

He added: "Many people in the Vale are very passionate about the outdoor pool and I have always promised that when the existing pool came to the end of its life we would find a long term solution. Good to our word, wWe have now reached that stage and will immediately begin working up plans to replace the existing pool.

"Unfortunately I cannot say what the new pool will look like as we are in the process of speaking to interest groups to find out what people would like.

"It could be completely different to what we have now or it could be something pretty similar."

Elizabeth Simpson, chairwoman of Friends of Abbey Meadow Outdoor Pool, said it was 'wonderful news' adding: "Abbey Meadow pool has been a community asset for generations to enjoy healthy outdoor swimming and diving.

“The new pool should build on its best features and include a much-wanted beach area to improve the water activity.

“This will meet the needs of the thriving, growing population of the Abingdon area.”

Mrs Simpson had argued the pool needed a new lining and a replacement boiler as it often fails to heat the water.

The district council’s decision to replace the pool comes two weeks after residents set up a petition calling for changes to £600,000 revamp plans which has been signed by more than 760 people.

Now Vale of White Horse district council has pledged to replace the pool in addition to the £600,000 set aside for new play areas, changing facilities, picnic benches and a multi-use games area.

Peter Harbour, long-time campaigner, said: “Kids of all ages love to dive into the deep water of our local pool. I think it is the only one in Oxfordshire to allow diving – and long may that remain. 

“We look forward to collaborative discussions with Vale on how to get the best pool for all our people. We are delighted with the good news.”

It is understood the wall of the pool cracked and has been repaired but will only last until the end of the summer.

District Councillor Mike Badcock said: "The long-term plan was also to replace it and that has now been brought forward.”

But he said the council did not yet know when or how much extra it would cost.

Commenting on the council’s decision to amend its redevelopment plans, Wootton mother Emma Diffey said: “Taxpayers voted for the pool to be refurbished and to go against it was morally wrong. This shows if you challenge situations you can make a difference.”