Experts shine spotlight on Saltdean Lido repairs

Posted On 28 Nov 2011 at 11:53 pm

Conservation experts have been called in to examine a historic Brighton building after English Heritage deemed it to be “at risk”.

Saltdean Lido needs repairs and the experts are being asked to agree what work is necessary.

Valuers may also be asked to assess the site in case Brighton and Hove City Council decides to compulsorily purchase it or the leaseholder surrenders the lease.

Council officials are likely to be asked to hold talks with the leaseholder, a company called Power Fitness Ltd or PFL, about the possible surrender of the lease.

At the same time, members of the Save Saltdean Lido Campaign have called a series of emergency meetings to consult as many residents at possible.

The campaigners want to hear residents’ views on a report which will be considered by Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, the council’s cabinet member for culture, on Tuesday (6 December). The emergency meetings are on Sunday (4 December).

The report to Councillor Bowden says that the council and PFL are in dispute about what repairs are needed and how well recent repairs have been carried out.

In May last year the council, which owns the freehold, served a legal notice on property developer Dennis Audley, the former leaseholder and a director of PFL. The order requires a list of repairs to be made.

Since then the building has been included in the latest edition of the English Heritage Building at Risk register which was published on Wednesday 19 October.

The register is used by English Heritage as part of its Heritage at Risk programme. The programme was established “to identify historic assets that are at risk of being lost through neglect, decay or development or are vulnerable to becoming so”.

On Tuesday Councillor Bowden is also expected to agree a new monitoring regime to ensure that the pool is open to the public when it should be.

Save Saltdean Lido members said at a council meeting last month that the Lido hasn’t always opened when it should. They also drew attention to the condition of the building.

A petition signed by more than 3,000 campaigners was presented to the council last month and debated.

One of the next steps was for officials to produce a report for Councillor Bowden to consider on Tuesday.

He said: “At the same time as pursuing the legal route over the state of the building, we’re now seeking an official view from our conservation experts.

“I’m expecting this will strengthen our hand.”

Campaigners want the council to withdraw the lease but council lawyers say that a court is unlikely to support such a move unless and until negotiations with the lessee have broken down.

Councillor Bowden added: “I completely share campaigners’ frustration but for now we must pursue other ways of keeping the pressure on the leaseholder to repair the building and open it regularly.

“We want a vibrant, accessible Lido that plays a full part in the life of the local community and city as a whole.”

The Save Saltdean Lido emergency meetings are scheduled to take place on Sunday 4 December at St Nicholas Church Hall, Saltdean Vale, at 2.15pm, 3.30pm, 5pm and 6.15pm.

Next Tuesday Rebecca Crook, chairman of the Saltdean Lido Campaign, is scheduled to address Councillor Bowden as are the Saltdean Residents’ Association, the Saltdean Community Association and Mr Audley.

Ms Crook, chair of the Save Saltdean Lido Campaign, said: “The needs of the people of Saltdean have always been at the heart of our campaign and we have consulted the community constantly since our inception.”

The campaign was set up last year by local residents after the leaseholder PFL announced plans to fill in the pool, demolish part of the building and build more than 100 flats. 

The council has since indicated that that is not likely to grant planning permission to any such scheme.

Saltdean Lido is the only Grade II* listed lido in England and next year it will have been in the council’s ownership for 50 years.

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