Brighton & Hove City Council have recommended Saltdean Lido CIC (Community Interest Company) are awarded provisional preferred bidder status for the Grade II* listed building.
This recommendation follows a selection process which began in March and will be put forward to the Economic Development and Culture Committee on the September 19 and subject to negotiations, preferred bidder status will then be awarded which would need to be authorised by the Council’s Policy and Resource committee.
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 said: “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 building still remains on the English Heritage ‘At Risk Register’ with Ms Crook going on to say “One of our core objectives will be to work with the Council’s conservation officer, planners and English Heritage to ensure urgent works can commence so that the building can eventually be taken off the ‘At Risk Register’.”
Although the lido site is best known for its pool, the art deco buildings also houses a library and a variety of rooms which are used for a range of classes including yoga, ballet, art and the Saltdean choir.
Saltdean Lido CIC plan to develop improved community spaces for groups and provide more library space as well as heating the water of the swimming pool, opening a restaurant in the rotunda part of the building which is currently closed to the public and landscaping and modernising the entire site.
The CIC also plan to transform the lido site into an all-year-round destination with ice-skating during the winter months when the swimming pool will be closed.
Saltdean Lido is an art deco building designed by architect RWH Jones, built in 1938 and was Grade II* (star) listed in 2011 by an application written by the Save Saltdean Lido Campaign. Grade II* (star) buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest with only 5.5% of listed buildings listed as Grade II* (star).
Further information can be found on the website including how you can get involved www.saltdeanlido.co.uk