A multi-million-pound swimming pool on Oxford's Barton estate has won Lottery funding following an eight-year campaign.

Supporters of the Barton pool project celebrate winning £1.7m in Lottery funds for the scheme

Supporters of the scheme said the £1.7m Sport England grant was the best Christmas present they had ever had.

Oxfordshire County Council must now get permission from the Government to build on the former Bayswater School site, in Bayswater Road.

It is hoped work on the pool will begin by the middle of next year and be complete within 18 months.

Sue Holden, of the Barton Community Association, said: "The community has worked tirelessly to keep this project alive.

"There have been many times when it could all so easily have fallen by the wayside.

"It's the best Christmas present we have ever had."

Mrs Holden, who ran a Sink or Swim campaign to get the pool, thanked both the city and county councils for their help.

Oxford City Council leader and Barton councillor Alex Hollingsworth said: "There has been a huge amount of support for this.

"Many people have devoted a huge amount of time and effort to making it happen."

Mr Hollingsworth said the building contract would be put out to tender as soon as planning permission and consent to build on the school site were secured. Gerald Hales, a county council education officer, said: "Schools will have use of the pool for so many hours per week.

"We now have to get consent from the Government's Department for Education and Skills for using part of the school site for the pool - and we are not anticipating any problems with that."

Sean Holt, a regional director for Sport England South East, said: "We are delighted to be able to invest such a substantial amount of funding into Barton.

"As an organisation, we are committed to increasing participation in physical activity and sport across the South East."

Vikki Gledhill, coordinator of the Barton Resident Research Project, which works to improve the estate, said: "I'm over the moon - it's great news for Barton."

The city council has set aside £1m of its own money for the project, which will have a six lane pool a fitness room and reception area.