For the next 6 decades, the Saltdean Lido is in the safe hands of campaigners who have fought three long years for its survival.
The Saltdean Lido Community Interest Company (CIC) has won a 60-year lease to operate the pool after Brighton and Hove councillors approved their proposal.
These new owners have stated that the first thing on their agenda is to plan out and secure the money for a £5 million refurbishment.
The Art Deco Lido was hailed at the time of its inception back in 1938 as one of the most innovative of its kind, but today it remains in a comparatively sorry-looking state.
Saltdean’s premiere attraction has been rejuvenated once before, by Sports Minister Tony Banks in 1998, but maintenance has not been carried out as well as it should have following the £2 million restoration.
Since 2010, there have been plans to partially destroy this historic building to make way for new flats, but the negative response to this led to passionate protesting.
The CIC knew that they had a chance of getting their way and taking charge back in 2011 when John Penrose approved the upgrade of the Lido’s listed status to Grade II*, the second highest grade.
Paul Zara, director of Conran & Partners Architects, which is involved in the scheme, said “There’s much more work to do than anybody thought,”
However, he assured locals that before too long “We’ll get the first floor terrace open again, and you’ll be able to use the rotunda restaurant.”
Some of the developments are more pressing than others however, as a recent full structural survey showed that more than £1m worth of work needed to be done “quite quickly”, according to CIC Chairwoman Rebecca Crook.
She went on to talk about the funding for such an ambitious project: “We’re hoping the bulk of that money will come from the Heritage Lottery Fund.”
Local authorities will help draw up the bid for Heritage Lottery funding, and it is expected to be submitted next month.
Despite all of the discussion over brining the Lido back to its original state, more progressive ideas have also emerged, such as turning the pool into an ice rink during the winter months to save it from going to waste.
The CIC hope that now they have the keys to the Lido, the establishment will be removed from the English Heritage risk register.
Despite the pool not re-opening until 2015, excitement can be felt all over the community, and the new owners are clearly ready, tweeting “exciting times here on the south coast! Lots to do but we can’t wait for the challenge.”
By Lewis Parker