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Yorkshire Swim Works was conceived during a lockdown quest to find amazing + safe places to swim outdoors.
The idea was shared with a group of expansive thinkers, and has grown into a project with real potential.
Please let us know if you think your time, ideas or money can help to make Yorkshire Swim Works vision become a reality.
Labelled as one of the fastest growing activities in the UK, there has been a rapid rise in participation, public awareness and media coverage of outdoor swimming.
This section explores and provides insight into the UK outdoor swimming sector and demonstrates how the proposition behind YSW would align with the expectations and needs of its potential users and wider stakeholders, covering:
YSW aims to become the first public natural swimming pool in the UK.
There is an opportunity to create a unique facility on Thornton Moor of architectural, cultural and sporting importance, becoming the highest altitude public outdoor pool in the UK.
As shown in Section 1 of this report, natural swimming facilities like YSW are not common in the UK. This section includes comparative examples from around the globe. It highlights a number of key considerations for the successful development of a facility with the central focus of a public natural swimming pool (NSP):
The proposition for the YSW is to repurpose a slice of Yorkshire’s Victorian industrial heritage ~ the Thornton Moor Water Treatment Works ~ into a facility that meets modern societal needs and becomes a future cultural and civil asset.
YSW offers an opportunity to connect with our past by harnessing the existing architectural features of the 4 water filtration basins, associated pipework & adjoining conduits into the new pool design.
YSW intends to put nature at the heart of everything, to create a brand new green and blue space that engenders an inclusive, resilient and biodiverse community.
At this early stage, consultation and informed decisions can be made on how best to develop the facility in a sustainable manner; working with, rather than towards, net-zero & clean-growth targets.
The report aims to provide information to determine whether the site is fit-for-purpose, as well as the extent of any ecological and biodiversity potential and how the facility can be developed sustainably and in harmony with regional and local development planning conditions (because of the site being classified as greenbelt).
Gagarin Studios (architects, site visit and development of initial concept sketches) provide their initial rationale for development, based on RIBA sustainable development criteria. The report also suggests approaches for renewable energy.
Concept sketches for Yorkshire Swim Works are included along with landholding, locality maps and site photographs.
For this Stage 1 Feasibility Report the aim was to engage with as wide and diverse an audience as possible – to gain views on the ‘want’ and ‘need’ for Yorkshire Swim Works, by reaching out to the regional community and then nationally via social media and raising awareness and profile via press coverage.
The brand and project was announced on May 17th 2022 –
Facebook page followers 1000 +
Social media reach in excess of 40k
Email subscribers 500 +
Survey respondents 2200
Analysis is provided for all of the above, and coverage from BBC, The Guardian, Yorkshire Post is all detailed.
Yorkshire Swim Works and the site at Thornton Moor has the potential to become a sustainable year-round eco-tourism destination – a purpose built centre for well-being, focused on swimming.
A place to experience the benefits of outdoor swimming, learn about nature and biodiversity, enjoy a wider visit to the South Pennines and to support thriving local communities. Giving rise to
All of the above are explored in the report.
With the completion of the report the project team is looking ahead to progress work into Scheme Development and to secure the land.
We have identified and are applying for grant funding.
Alongside Phase 2 Feasibility, we will be looking to attract funding and investment for the capital expenditure. Opportunities will be available for phased/partial development, or for the entire project.
Partnerships will also be key to The Yorkshire Swim Works to ensure its development is sustainable and happens for all the right reasons: