Sustainable energy for Iconic Cheltenham Lido

Sustainable energy for iconic Cheltenham Lido

New solar panels at Cheltenham’s Sandford Parks Lido will generate 93% of the energy required to run the site. Our team acted on behalf of the Lido in order to achieve planning permission for the historic pool.

Soaring energy costs meant that, like many historic outdoor pools, the future looked uncertain for Sandford Park Lido in Cheltenham.

CEO, Julie Sargent and the trustees knew they needed to act quickly in order to avoid the total closure of the pool:

“When our fixed rate energy tariff came to an end, the financial viability of the pool was doomed, and we knew something had to be done to save it. Our energy costs, combined with environmental and sustainability considerations lead to our three stage Decarbonisation Plan”

Julie Sargent | CEO at Sandford Parks Lido

Phase 1 meant maximising what was already in place at the lido to make it run as efficiently as possible.

Making pumps and motors more efficient with inverters, making crucial repairs and installing new pool covers.  The iconic fountain is a feature the team were keen to retain, when many other pools have already removed similar features due to the loss in pool temperature they cause. By installing additional pipework, staff can now divert water away from the fountain at night, reducing heat-loss.

For phase two, SF Planning acted on a pro bono basic to achieve planning permission for solar panels on the plant room roof

Read about our work on phase two of the project project here

The recent planning permission enables phase three of the plan to begin.

The design reinstates pedestrian access to the main entrance doors of the Lido, an integral part of the original 1935 lido design, lost over time in favour of parking. Additional spaces for the general public will be created, as well as improved bicycle storage, close to the main entrance.

Within the car park, four new car ports will each support a number of solar panels on the roof. The design of the structures will have minimum impact on the surrounding area and will allow for the housing of all associated cabling and infrastructure equipment. In addition, seven electric vehicle charging points will be installed, with the potential to expand this offering, if required in the future.

This project achieved grant funding from a Government scheme SPSF (swimming pool support fund via Sport England) and Cheltenham Zero Business Grant from Cheltenham Borough Council. Additional fundraising activities are planned throughout 2024 to support the project.  Work will begin in October 2024 with plans to complete by the start of the season in March 2025.

“We’d like to thank everyone who supported our planning application by writing letters of support, with special thanks going to Rappor, All Ecology, MHP Arboriculture, Jeremy Lake, Cotswold Energy and especially SF Planning, who’ve again impressively guided our application through the planning process.”

Julie Sargent | CEO at Sandford Parks Lido

For more information on this successful application for Sustainable energy for Iconic Cheltenham Lido, please contact Nathan Maddox

How to get in touch:


t: Cheltenham: 01242 231575 | Gloucester: 01452 527997 | London: 020 3763 8005

SF Planning – What we do

Thanks to the following for their support with this project:

Space & Place


All Ecology

MHP Arboriculture

Cotswold Energy

Jeremy Lake

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