Saltdean Lido is to get another £4.7million to help restore and reopen to the public.
The Heritage Lottery Fund this week announced it was giving the grant to the Saltdean Lido Community Interest Company (CIC) for repairs to the 1938 Grade II* listed lido.
The CIC plans to use the money, along with a £2.5million grant from the Coastal Communities Fund and other funding, to transform the site into a modern leisure destination providing the local community with a heated outdoor pool, indoor and outdoor play areas, café, gym, community and function rooms, and a revived library.
However, there is still another £2 million to raise to fund the project and so the CIC will be issuing a Community Share Scheme similar to that undertaken by Hastings Pier last year which raised £600,000.
Comprising an iconic Art-Deco building and three pools, it was created to elevate Saltdean’s status as a fashionable resort in the competitive 1930s British holiday market.
After just three successful seasons it closed in summer of 1940 and didn’t reopen to the public again until 1964.
During the Second World War the National Fire Service used the pool as a water tank and its ground for training.
The onset of war halted Saltdean’s development and so in the years after, the Lido’s changing rooms were sanctified and used for church services and a Sunday school.
With the exception of the council run local library and a number of small-scale commercial activities in a 1960s extension, the site has been vacant since 2011 and is currently on English Heritage’s At Risk Register.
The closure of the lido and its sister building, the Ocean Hotel has had a negative impact on the economic health of Saltdean. The revitalization of the lido will act as a catalyst to regenerate the area.
This money has been awarded through HLF’s Heritage Enterprise programme. It is designed to help when the cost of repairing an historic building is so high that restoration simply is not commercially viable. Grants of £100k to £5million bridge the financial gap, funding the vital repairs and conservation work needed to convert derelict, vacant buildings like those at Saltdean Lido, into new, usable commercial spaces that can have a positive impact on local economies.
Rebecca Crook, chair of Saltdean Lido CIC, said “The backing of HLF has always been central to the success of our project and we are delighted that all our hard work is coming to fruition. The Saltdean Lido CIC will be creating new jobs and bringing new revenue and much needed investment to the area. However, there are many challenges for community groups such as ours who are bringing heritage buildings back into use.”
Ben Greener, HLF’s Historic Environment Advisor, said “When it was built, Saltdean Lido was the beating heart of a successful seaside resort. Sadly, as the lido declined, so did Saltdean. Yet local people never forgot how important this heritage icon was to their town. Now, through Heritage Enterprise, the Heritage Lottery Fund is enabling the community to find a sustainable solution for this precious local landmark, signalling Saltdean’s return to prosperity whilst saving one of the most significant lidos in the UK.”
The freehold of Saltdean Lido is owned by Brighton and Hove Council. In 2010, local residents united to initiate a campaign to save the lido and stop the proposed residential development by the then leaseholder.
After a successful community-led campaign which attracted support from around the globe, at the end of 2013 Saltdean Lido CIC was named as the preferred leaseholder and started a major fundraising programme with a target of £10 million.
HLF has agreed to give the group £576,000 in development funding with a view to granting the full £4.2 million at a later stage to fund the refurbishment of the building.
In January, £2.5 million was also secured from The Coastal Communities Fund and in 2014 £490,000 from the Social Investment Bank to refurbish the outside grounds and pools. The CIC also won the Peoples Millions competition last year with £49,500 pledged for the paddling pool.
Simon Kirby, Member of Parliament for Saltdean, said: “This £4.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund is fantastic news. As a long-time supporter of the Lido campaign I am delighted that we have taken another huge step forward. Huge credit must go to the Community Interest Company who I know have worked so tirelessly to achieve this excellent result.”
Rebecca Crook, chair of the CIC, added: “There have been thousands of volunteer hours put into this project to make this a reality and there will be thousands more to deliver and get the site fully open. However it’s a great example of how a local community can come together to achieve great things despite obstacles and huge challenges.”