Councillors have agreed to help bankroll the restoration of Saltdean Lido’s listed Art Deco building.
The Saltdean Lido Community Interest Company (CIC) has secured £4.5million of lottery funding for the project – but only on the condition that they raise £1.6million themselves.
Brighton and Hove city councillors have now agreed to stump up the cash themselves if the CIC fails to find any other source of funding.
Past bids for grants to cover the shortfall in the £7.5million project to save the Grade II* listed building have failed.
In a report to last night’s Policy, Resources and Growth Committee the CIC’s business plan is described as viable, but officers said paying off a loan would be difficult for the CIC.
Conservative Councillor Garry Peltzer-Dunn was concerned about any potential for failure with the restoration of the building whether the amount was a loan or a grant.
Fellow Conservative Councillor Andrew Wealls underlined the issue, checking whether the authority will see the money back if it is used.
Labour leader Councillor Daniel Yates said: “You can argue we will see it back in the the benefit of seeing one of our buildings we have a liability for, improved at a significantly reduced cost to us.”
By underwriting the shortfall the council puts less of a burden on the community interest company.
Conservative Councillor Tony Janio put forward a recommendation that officers help the lido with its fundraising and deliver a bi-annual report into its progress.
This was agreed unanimously by councillors.
Brighton and Hove City Council owns the site and restored the pool and building in the 1960.
It was later leased to businessman Dennis Audley but closed in 2012 when he handed the leasehold back to the city council after being refused permission to build flats on the site.
The CIC took it over in 2013 and reopened the pool in 2017 after extensive restoration work, paid for by government, council and lottery grants and fundraising.
Its first two seasons were hailed a success with more than 35,000 people – and dogs – enjoying a swim.
Extensive restoration work is needed on the building as the concrete structure is under attack from salt in sea-dredged gravel used in the construction and the salty sea air.
Once restored, the CIC hopes it will become sustainable with income from setting up a café and hiring the building out for weddings and community events.