Plans for a multi-million-pound swimming pool for Oxford's Barton estate are on the brink of fruition.

After much debate, a deal has finally been hammered out with Sport England.

The city council's decision-making executive board will hear at a meeting next Monday that a scheme has now been "worked up" that will "deliver the aspirations of the people of Barton".

The council has two designs to consider, either of which would come within the £2.8m budget.

The project is now ready to proceed to stage two of the submission process with Sport England for support funding.

Oxford's bid will be considered on September 15 by Sport England's regional sports board.

The scheme already has Sport England 'stage one' approval for a grant of £1,694,986 towards the £2,744,986 total cost. Success at stage two will mean that building can go ahead.

The project suffered a setback when Sport England suspended its capital programme of work due to declining revenues from the National Lottery.

However, after negotiations with the council, it was announced that the pool project would be one of a small number still to be considered for capital funding.

But it became apparent that the original capital costs of £2.4m were now under-estimates.

By the latter half of 2003, it was estimated that to build the pool to the original specification would cost around £4m.

After Sport England made it clear that its funding would be capped at £1.7m, the council came up with a slightly less ambitious version.

Former city councillor Peter Johnson, who was the executive member for leisure until June, said: "It's highly unlikely that this amount of money will ever be on offer again.

"We have a tight timetable to meet. We cannot afford to lose momentum. It's now or never."

Barton newsagent Sue Holden, who launched a Sink or Swim fundraising campaign, said she had everything crossed as she awaited D-Day.