Worthing Lido ‘deteriorating significantly’ but council vows to protect it

Worthing Borough Council has pledged to do all it can to preserve the town’s historic lido as it struggles in harsh seafront conditions.

The Grade II listed attraction has been at the heart of Worthing’s promenade for 95 years but recent consultations have revealed the underside of the building, which overhangs the beach, has deteriorated significantly.

A spokesman for the council said extensive repairs could be needed which may force some parts of the lido to be closed temporarily.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

The scope of the repairs will depend on the findings of further surveys due to take place this week.

Worthing Lido SUS-201125-112027001

Details of the extent of the deterioration, repair options and how they will be funded will be brought forward for review by councillors in the new year.

Kevin Jenkins, the council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “For close to a century, the lido has been a landmark building on our seafront. Residents are rightly proud of its heritage and it continues to be an attraction for tens of thousands of people each year.

“But we know from experience in other parts of the country that, even with maintenance, seafront buildings such as the lido do deteriorate over time when they are exposed to the harsh elements of the sea.

“Given the recent acceleration and severity of the initial structural reports, it is only right that we act quickly and decisively to prevent further decline of this listed building.

“Our first priority is to protect the structure of the lido and ensure public safety, whilst entering into open and honest discussions with the current tenant and other key stakeholders so that we can develop a viable short-term solution which supports their livelihoods. It’s only right that we look at all of our options for the site moving forward.”

Worthing Lido was opened in 1925 with a D-shaped building providing shelter for people to crowd around the bandstand.

It was converted into a swimming pool before becoming the leisure attraction it is today, with a café, amusements and a range of kiosks.

More recently it appeared in the film Stan & Ollie, starring Steve Coogan and John C Reilly, which focused on Laurel and Hardy’s final tour of the UK.

The Lido’s tenant, Martin Barrett, said he always knew ongoing work to protect the site from exposure to the sea, wind and rain was essential.

“In order to allow maintenance work to be undertaken and prevent health and safety issues in the future, I know I will have to adapt the way and space in which the business operates,” he said.

“I am looking forward to continuing to work with the council to ensure that it is as much ‘business as usual’ during the planning and duration of the works. I have been impressed with the guidance, flexibility and determination provided by the council in order to achieve this.

“I have every confidence that the council will continue on this path, minimising the disruption to the business while preserving the site so that it can continue being a major seaside tourist attraction for future generations.”

The majority of the lido has been closed this year due to lockdown measures.