Work has finally started building an Oxford swimming pool, nearly half a century after residents first began campaigning for it.

From May next year, the community of Barton will be able to go for a dip in a new £2.8m pool.

The four-lane, 25-metre pool with a multi-purpose room will be available for schools and the local community, and will offer swimming lessons and fitness classes.

Residents first called for a swimming pool in Barton in the 1960s, but the idea sank when money which had been raised for the project went missing.

The campaign surfaced again eight years ago, when Barton received Government funding to regenerate the area.

Numerous projects were put forward, but Barton resident Sue Holden, who has been the driving force behind the campaign, said it was the only option which provided a facility for everyone in the community.

Mrs Holden said: "I am absolutely chuffed to bits because the project could have so easily fallen by the wayside. Looking back I think it was the power of the community that kept the project alive."

Mary Clarkson, Oxford City Council's executive member for leisure and culture, was also involved in the process.

She said: "I am delighted that work to build a much-needed swimming pool in Barton has begun.

"This project demonstrates our continued commitment to providing the people of Oxford with excellent sporting facilities that are modern and affordable."

The cost of the project has been met by a £1.1m Government grant from the Single Regeneration Budget and a £1.7m grant from Sport England.