Saltdean Lido's £8million restoration plans to go before councillors

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Saltdean Lido
Photo by Jon Rigby
Saltdean Lido Photo by Jon Rigby

Plans to restore and adapt Saltdean Lido have been revised to give the attraction a better chance of being financially viable in the long term.

The community interest company (CIC) that runs the Lido was granted permission five years ago to demolish extensions from the 1960s and ’70s at the back of the main building.

The CIC has dropped this element of its plans as well as a proposed new two-storey extension to the north.

The new more modest scheme, which goes before councillors next week, includes more office space as part of a plan to generate more income.

A report to councillors also highlighted the need for vital repairs. It said: “Urgent concrete structural repairs are required to the Lido building which is deteriorating because of its exposed coastal location and design faults in the original construction.

“There are no heritage concerns regarding the principle of these necessary repairs and it is not considered that they will harm the significance of the building.”

But the new changing rooms have fallen foul of officials – and the report said: “While a changing room building at the Lido was granted planning permission in 2016, the building constructed is of a poor quality and is not in accordance with the approved plans. It is therefore unauthorised.”

The report added that 'works are required for its remediation' and this would be dealt as a condition attached to the Lido’s current planning application.

Overall, officials have backed the planning application and next week Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Committee will give its verdict.

If councillors vote in favour of the £8 million plans, the CIC will restore the main building, including the library. A temporary library will be close by while work is carried out.

The CIC aims to have a café and function room, with the prospect of hosting wedding receptions and other events. And the building will also have space for community rooms, leisure and exercise areas and offices.

The plans include spiral staircases, restored balustrades, chimney and flag pole and the fitting of traditional windows in place of more recent modern windows.

The grade II* listed art deco building opened in 1938 and the pool, which fell into disuse, was reopened to the public five summers ago after a long but effective community campaign.

Two representations called for a suitable changing room for people with disabilities, known as a Changing Places facility.

Conservative councillor Mary Mears sent a letter in support of the application, calling it 'a fantastic opportunity'.

Councillor Mears, who represents Rottingdean Coastal ward, said that the plans would bring 'a centre point back to Saltdean'.

And she added: “The plans are exciting and bold and, with the swimming pool, will be a beacon at the east of the city.”

The Planning Committee is due to meet at Hove Town Hall at 2pm on Wednesday (August 4). It is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.

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