A MAJOR project to transform a 'much-loved' outdoor pool in Abingdon is set to begin.

Building works for the £1.3m refurbishment of Abbey Meadow pool should start later this month, Vale of White Horse District Council has announced.

The smaller pool will be combined with the main pool to create a beach-style area, which can be used to gain easy access to the water, and there will be a deep-water area for more experienced swimmers.

Council leader Matthew Barber said the investment would help to create a 'must-visit venue', adding: “I’m sure people will be very pleased to see work start at the pool."

Contractors are expected to take 28 weeks to complete the improvements, and the council hopes to reopen the facility in time for the summer 2018 season. 

The changing rooms will also be refurbished and equipment used to run the swimming pool will be replaced to boost energy efficiency.

New public toilets and an accessible path will also be delivered in the pool scheme, which comes after a makeover of the neighbouring Abbey Meadow play park. 

Charlotte Dickson, the district council's cabinet member for leisure, said: “The outdoor pool in Abingdon really is a much-loved local facility. The current pool area has seen better days. 

"This refurbishment work will ensure that the pool can remain in operation for future generations and that it provides a much better environment for residents and visitors to the area.”

Pool users pushed to save the facility from closure during 2005 and 2015, with campaigns supported by hundreds of residents and backed by the Abingdon Herald newspaper.