Saltdean Lido ‘disappointed’ by Brighton open air pool plans

Posted On 05 Mar 2015 at 2:09 pm

The Saltdean Lido says it is “disappointed’ that it was not informed about plans to build another open air pool on the seafront in Brighton.

Saltdean Lido - Picture by Deryck Chester

Saltdean Lido – Picture by Deryck Chester

A community campaign to restore the Grade II lido has this year been given millions of pounds in grants and hopes to open it to the public again next year.

But despite working in partnership with Brighton and Hove City Council, it first heard about the new plans for a heated seawater pool at the old Peter Pan’s site when it hit the headlines yesterday.

And while it is not “overly concerned”, it says having two open air pools so close to each other could have an impact on the lido.

Saltdean Lido Community Interest Company (CIC) director Rebecca Crook said: “We are working in partnership with the council and they didn’t notify us of this scheme on the seafront.

“We have many meetings with the officers and even had a meeting with the chief executive a couple of weeks ago.

“We’re not overly concerned about it because there have been a lot of thing proposed for that site and this is early stages and our swimming pool will be open next year.

“We have got such huge public support and ours is a slightly different proposition.

“But there doesn’t seem to be a holistic plan of projects going on in the city. I can’t imagine any other council recommending two outdoor swimming pools within three miles of each other.

“It’s just not commercially viable, and I think it will have an impact.

“I’m sure they had other schemes they could have done and it’s interesting that they decided to go for an outdoor pool.”

A pool built at Bondi Beach in Australia by the same developer

A pool built at Bondi Beach in Australia by the same developers as the Peter Pan proposals

Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby said: “I am astounded at the complete lack of holistic thinking within the city council regarding the development of the seafront and this proposed outdoor swimming pool.

“Only a few miles away is the Saltdean Lido which has already been awarded millions of pounds in funding, has an existing infrastructure, a huge amount of community support and a business plan that is viable for the long-term.

“The city council itself awarded the lease to the Community Interest Company (CIC) which is now regenerating the lido. This announcement makes no sense either for the tourism offer of the city.

“There are any number of uses that seafront sites could be put to – some of which have lain noticeably vacant for a number of years.

“It is astounding that in meetings with the CIC, city council officials have never mentioned the Peter Pan proposal!

The use of this site needs a complete rethink. I suggest the council gets on with it.’

However, Geoffrey Bowden, the city council’s lead councillor for culture and economic development said the two pools were completely different and posed no threat to each other.

He said: “I don’t know what Rebecca is complaining about. I think she’s done a fantastic job and they have got a lot of public support.

“Rebecca’s not one to be scared by any competition. and I don’t think that the Peter Pan pool will be competition.

“We put the Peter Pan site out to tender last year and it’s always been a leisure site. Whatever come forward and is assessed to be the best option is the one the people looking at those bids will go with.

“We can equally say it could undermine the Prince Regent or the King Alfred site. There’s an appetite for swimming in the city and it needs to be addressed.”

If the pool’s plans are approved in principle by the council and secure planning permission, developers Copsemill Properties hopes to start construction next year.

  1. Rebecca Reply

    Councillor Geoffrey Bowden misses the point – Saltdean Lido are not scared of competition and have complete confidence in the business plan however Brighton Council allege they are working in partnership with the CIC (a group of local residents who are unpaid volunteers) and therefore this information should have been shared in an open and collaborative manner. An outdoor pool is an outdoor pool and there will be an impact for both pools with two in such close proximity.

  2. Iain Chambers Reply

    i think Rebecca’s point is more about the process rather than the competition. Saltdean Lido CIC is putting thousands of hours of effort into regenerating a landmark building and with it the community that surrounds it and has embraced it. These people deserve a bit of respect and consultation from the council.
    As for swimming in the city, why not just revamp the King Alfred centre as a proper leisure site with a decent pool & an indoor/outdoor dimension like The Triangle?

  3. Andrew Cripps Reply

    Would still prefer an Ice Arena down the seafront instead – whatever happened to the plans for Black Rock??

  4. Sally Reply

    Totally agree, what ever happened to the Ice Rink, bring back Ice Hockey and skating and stage some fantastic events.

  5. Bob Beaver Reply

    Saltdean really doesn’t appeal to a number of people, due to location, proximity and neighbourhood…

    The Brighton proposal sounds great

  6. Hugh Robinson Reply

    Oh dear. Here we go again ! Some one has a magic business plan to open the Saltdean lido again. It hasn’t got much going for it. Accessed only via the congested South Coast Road it is too far out of the City Centre and in a drafty hole and totally unheated. As any one who has had a open air home swimming pool knows, heated pools cost a fortune to heat as they have no insulation. To stand any chance of success the pool would need rebuilding and heated with properly insulated walls and bottom and a thick “blanket” to draw over the pool when not in use. For at least 25 years swimming at British resorts has proved unattractive as holidays around the Med guarantee sunny and warm sea bathing and as a report last year showed spending a week in Brighton was very expensive compared with a week in say Spain..
    With regard to the open air pool on Peter Pan’s Playground the Council appears to have gone completely mad. For 40 years The King Alfred has been falling apart and there are ideas to rebuild it with a 50 metre pool Suddenly it appears that it is so flush with ideas and money that another 50 metre pool is on the cards.I would remind readers that since 1964 we have been awaiting for a proper Ice Rink to replace the one in West Street. So 3 pools within 6 miles… totally mad. And lets get it right about the i360, You will not be able to see France nor “over” the Downs as they are about 700 feet high around Brighton and the i360 only reaches 500 feet. Over 180 degrees of the view (half) there is nothing to see apart from sea and perhaps an occasional ship going to Shoreham Harbour. Interesting to see in drawing of the i360 cabin with an article in Portfolio Brighton and Hove (February 2015 Issue 7) that it has only 7 people shown in it. The losses on this venture will scupper any investment in any of the projects mentioned above.

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