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Council spend £130 thousand on essential repairs to Saltdean Lido

Wednesday, September 12th 2012 19:19

After taking back the keys earlier in the summer the council has uncovered health and safety hazards including asbestos. Once the work is done the future management will be decided.

audio - Councillor Geoffrey Bowden discusses the progress of the work and the Lido's future

Saltdean Lido is to get £130,000 from Brighton & Hove City Council’s emergency funds for urgent and crucial repairs it has identified following extensive inspections by experts.

But the authority, which recently took back the building from a commercial operator, says so much other work is needed it is hard to predict when it might re-open.

A report to the council’s Economic Development and Culture Committee on September 20 says repairs needed to the building are so extensive that it may not reopen in time for summer 2013.

Chair of the committee Cllr Geoffrey Bowden said: "We have inherited a building in a worse state than we or anyone else anticipated. Like so many residents both locally and across the city we dearly want the Lido returned to a good condition and opened to the public. The debate is about how that happens, not whether it should happen.”

The authority also says coming up with a way of running the Lido will take a little while longer. Among three broad options being considered are the council running it in-house; seeking a not-for-profit external operation; or taking on another commercial operator.

Officials will be scheduling informal meetings with potential operators, including the local group Save Saltdean Lido Campaign, to hear their ideas for the Lido, says the report.

Councillor Bowden added: "Some people are suggesting simplistic solutions, that ignore the law and rights and obligations of third parties. The council cannot simply hand the keys over to an interested party. It has a legal duty to explore all the options and has a rigorous process for doing that. That means thoroughly testing whether any potential operators have a financially-sound plan for running and maintaining the Lido over the long-term. We’re not at that point yet.”

The report says the initial £130,000 is needed for things such as insurance, an investigation of the state of the pool and other plant, fire risk assessments and electrical work, asbestos removal and upgrading the water supply and heating.

Other repairs needed to the fabric of the building will potentially cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, says the report.

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