THE Wycombe Rye Lido has been hailed as the new ‘jewel in Wycombe's crown’ by the leader of Wycombe District Council.

Cllr Alex Collingwood jumped on an exercise bike in the 60 station gym area of the renovated Environment Centre building during a tour around the new facilities at the Lido yesterday.

The swimming pool – part of the old Holywell Mead site – was reopened for the summer season back in May by operators Fusion Lifestyle.

But following 18 months of hard work and a £2m cash injection, almost all of the revamped complex will be opened to the public tomorrow.

Cllr Collinwood said: “I think it is amazing - we’ve kept the heritage, the work they’ve done in such a short space of time is outstanding.”

Monday’s launch closes the book on the site's remarkable story of ruin to recovery.

The former Holywell Mead site was closed in 2009 as part of a cost-cutting measure by the council.

Campaigners battled to have the historic site reopened and got their way when Fusion was handed a 50-year lease to run and revamp the complex last year.

Cllr Collingwood added: “It is a fantastic turn around - with the pools, the tennis courts, and now the gym and bistro, you’ve actually got a community facility.

“With respect, beforehand it was just a tired, run down old pool that no-one wanted. The community can really take ownership of this.

“I’m really impressed - with The Rye and now the Lido all here in the same place, this is very much a jewel in the crown.”

The Lido boasts the high-tech gym, an exercise studio, spinning studio and renovated changing rooms.

The only part of the shiny new complex still under construction is the bistro restaurant and cafe – which will open in August.

And Cllr Collingwood believes the Lido’s family feel will standalone from the proposed replacement sports centre at Handy Cross.

He said: “I think this will be for community fun and leisure, while I think the new sports centre will be for more serious, competitive sport.

“So you’ll be able to have regional competitions for running, athletics, badminton, swimming etc for the next Olympians at the sports centre and then this is for families to enjoy themselves and where children will first fall in love with sport and progress on to the sport centre.”

Lido manager Neil Cutting said about 400 people had already signed up to become a member at the gym and urged the community to pop in and take a look around.

He said: “It is exciting; the quality of the building is second to none and it will be one of the best facilities in the area.

“Fusion is very proud of it, as it is the first facility we have actually built ourselves, so this will be our flagship centre.

“It was once a derelict site and it’s now a flourishing leisure facility. Everyone has been itching to get in there and they seem surprised at how good it looks, so we can’t wait to show it off.”

Click on the link to be taken to the Lido's website.