“The key thing is for people to realise that it hasn’t finished,” says Paul Zara, director at Conran & Partners and the architect in charge of the Saltdean Lido redevelopment. “It’s hardly started. People have to keep their enthusiasm going… If you don’t save it now, it’ll be gone for good.”
Saltdean Lido, as you may know, is not only one of Brighton & Hove’s most significant architectural gems. Historic England recently named it one of the Seven Wonders of the British Seaside.
The Grade II* listed building is championed by Saltdean Lido CIC and Saltdean Lido Trust, both of which grew out of the residents’ campaign Save Saltdean Lido. Saltdean Lido CIC won the tender to take on the lease from Brighton & Hove City Council and opened the refurbished pool to a delighted public last summer.
The next phase of development relies on unlocking a £4.19 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). A crowdfunding campaign is currently active on spacehive.com, and £100k plus fees must be raised by the 16th of June in order to fund the café refurbishment, and help secure the lido’s future. If we don’t help the trust reach this target, the HLF money may be lost forever.
“This crowdfunder will not in itself fulfil the gap,” says Sally Horrox, Chair of Saltdean Lido Trust. “It’s a demonstration to the HLF before they make their decision, to say the community is behind it... We need to show a strong pipeline of funding so they are confident to release the monies and that we will have other funds to finish off the build.”
Should the funding goals be achieved, the beautiful Art Deco building will be restored to its former glory. Added bonuses will include a café and heritage centre; a huge events space on the first floor; a health suite with sauna and massage facilities; community spaces, and possibly a library, to re-open by 2021.
“The development realises the opportunity of it being a top-class venue,” says Sally. “It’s unique. You can sit out on the tea terraces or eat in a pop-up restaurant... It will become the showpiece of Saltdean again, instead of a dilapidated building.”
“The building is probably in the worst state it’s ever been,” adds Paul. “I think the lesson that the city’s learning is that it’s not the Council’s fault. Everyone blames the Council for everything and it’s partly that they let the building get into this bad state, but you can see around town, with the Marine Terraces crumbling away, we live in a coastal environment.
“You need to keep up investment in these important buildings. You have to preserve these community assets, otherwise you lose them. Saltdean Lido itself is exceptional. It has the chance not just to be an asset for Saltdean but also Brighton, Sussex and the country… It’s an impossible building not to love.
“I love its cruise-liner look, the way its wings curl out and it looks like it’s almost hugging the pool, it’s a fantastic building. I just think it’s vital that people realise that, if they have spare money to give to it, now is the time to do it.”
Images © Conran and Partners Ltd
Saltdean Lido is now open for the summer season. To donate, visit saltdeanlido.org or spacehive.com/saltdean-lido