WORK has begun to restore a stricken Southampton community swimming pool.

Contractors have started work at the Oaklands Pool in Lordshill after the city council agreed to fund £1.7million of works to allow residents to enjoy is again.

In the summer of 2012 the council closed the Fairisle Road pool following a long-standing leak, which led to the Save the Oaklands Pool group fighting to get it open again.

In October last year the council agreed to fund work to refurbish the pool, which will be run by the Oaklands Community Pool group on a 25-year lease.

Lordshill resident Dan Lally, a group member, said: “It has been a massive battle to save the pool from closure and demolition. I am very pleased that the pool will return to serving the community seven days a week.

“Swimming is an excellent form of exercise and I encourage everyone to swim and to test the new Oaklands in the coming months.”

Coxford Labour councillor Sally Spicer was joined by her fellow ward councillors Don Thomas and Keith Morrell, of the Putting People First party, in securing the council cash.

She said: “It has been a long process to get to this point, but finally all our hard work is paying off.

“It’s so important for children to learn the life skill of swimming and that local schools can use Oaklands once again.”

Cllr Morrell said: “Two years ago the leader of the Labour group on the city council said, ‘The pool’s closed, get used to it’.

“Everyone involved in the Save the Oaklands Pool campaign, which forced the city council to do a U-turn and find the money to reopen the pool, can be proud of what they have achieved.”

Contractors Interserve are carrying out the works, which are expected to last until towards the end of this year before the reopening in early 2015.