What is happening at the Saltdean Lido?

Lido bosses are concerned that a proposed rival open-air swimming pool on Brighton seafront could damage their prospects.

The Saltdean Lido 40m pool is planned to open in 2017, but the 50m pool at the Madeira Drive site could be completed by the end of 2017. Council offers said they saw the two pools as complimentary. The rival Lido scheme, called Sea Lanes, could be viewed as a pool for the more serious swimmer.

Work on the Lido’s 40m pool would have begun in August 2015, but has now been halted, as it has an insufficient power supply. A result of the City Council’s failure to support plans for a new electricity sub station on the site. The Saltdean Lido interest company hopes to raise £2 million through a community share offer.

The latest grant of £4.7million from the Heritage Lottery Fund is to renovate the site and bring the the 1930s building and pools back into use. The Community Interest Company must raise £2million before the Heritage Lottery Fund will release their grant.

The coastal communities fund have already awarded a £2.3million grant to modify the main pool, building a volley ball court and refurbishing the paddling pool.

Conran and Partners have been chosen by Saltdean Lido Community Interest Company (CIC) to draw up designs to rejuvenate the Lido.

So why is another leisure development considered for the Peter Pan site, a Council owned site? It is claimed to have a 50m 8 lane open air heated salt water pool, a restaurant, office and retail space for leisure and sport related businesses, meeting rooms, a library, a lecture theatre, running and cycling facilities . . . It sounds grossly over ambitious, the running costs will be huge.

The stagnant water has now been drained from the Lido pool. This will allow a full structural survey to find out what work is needed to bring the Lido back into use. The results of the survey are expected in a few weeks. The original pump room has already been condemned. The Saltdean Lido CIC is hoping to replace it with an energy efficient system. It is hoped that the Lido pool will be re-opened in 2016

Saltdean Lido Community Interest Group, set up by members of the Saltdean Lido Campaign, has already unveiled its plans. If successful it said that the Wave Leisure Trust, which runs swimming pools in the Lewes area, will take over the running of some of the facilities. If negotiations are met within the original timetable it is believed Saltdean Lido CIC in partnership with Wave Leisure Trust could take over the lease in the near future.

Rebecca Crook, Chair of the CIC, said “Of course, after a 3.5 year campaign we are overjoyed however this is now the start of even more hard work but we are ready for the challenge ahead. The building and swimming pool needs millions of pounds spent on it.  From the outside, it might look ok but there are serious structural issues which have left particularly the front part of the building in a very poor condition.  Nevertheless we are very confident in our ability to transform Saltdean Lido into a commercially viable and financially self-sufficient operation for the benefit of local people and visitors alike.”

Peter Crowley, Managing Director of Wave Leisure Trust, said “We are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Saltdean Lido CIC to re-open this iconic facility for the benefit of the local community. We look forward to bringing our expertise in inspiring active lifestyles to work with the CIC team in making Saltdean Lido a successful and unique attraction again.”

Paul Zara, Director, Conran & Partners Architects who have supported the campaign to save Saltdean Lido since 2010 said “It’s the right decision, of course. The team behind this bid will turn the Lido into a national destination, but most importantly it is the heart of Saltdean and a much loved friend. I can’t wait to swim there again, but there’s a lot of work to do first. This is the beginning of a new life for Saltdean Lido.”

The Saltdean Lido Community Interest Company is a community based organisation, already with almost 1,000 members which is very clear in its objective: to run the lido site and its facilities on behalf of the community, reinvesting profits back into this unique asset to ensure its long term use by future generations.

Rebecca Crook goes on to say “This is real victory for local residents and although there is a long road ahead it demonstrates when communities work together what amazing outcomes can be achieved.  We now have a real opportunity to transform this beautiful Grade II* (star) building and we cannot wait to start work.”

The Council has £335,000 in developer’s contributions from the redevelopment of the Ocean Hotel in Saltdean which can be invested in the Lido.

The Saltdean Lido Campaign’s vision for the pool is to provide a range of amenities and facilities which would be in use all the year round, a hub for Saltdean. This could include a small extension to the rear to create a larger library, a new meeting room on the first floor – with disabled access and lift – and 3 small meeting rooms, a café/restaurant on the balcony and sun terraces, a new gym, exercise and dance studio, a youth club space which could be used for children’s games on poor weather days.

The masterpiece of modern architecture was granted Grade II* listed status. English Heritage’s own words in their publication ‘Liquid Assets’ states that “it is one of the finest lidos to emerge in the 1930s, a lido that is unique . . . in its design”. It was the first operating Lido to have been listed in 1987. The Saltdean Lido is a masterpiece of the international Modern school of 20th century architecture, designed by Richard Jones in 1937, originally listed grade II, the first lido in England to be listed in 1987.

The Saltdean Lido Campaign would like to overhaul the external grounds to include a children’s wet play area, outdoor exercise equipment, a beach volley ball court, seating, picnic areas and regular swimming pool events. They plan to cover the pool with ice in the winter to make a temporary ice rink.

The Brighton Society strongly support the Save Saltdean Lido Campaign.

If you would like to become a member of the campaign (£10 per household) to save the Saltdean Lido contact: Rebecca Crook
e: saltdeanlidocampaign@googlemail.com
w: www.saltdeanlidocampaign.org