Community-owned Saltdean Lido reopens to its former glory as a heated outdoor swimming pool

Saltdean Lido, a Grade 2* listed Art Deco community-owned outdoor swimming pool, will reopen in Brighton this Saturday seven years after it faced the threat of demolition and redevelopment.

Saltdean Lido will re-open to the public on 17 June. The £3 million restoration project will feature heated water, for the first time since the original pool closed in 1940. The pool has also been returned back to its former glory – 40m in length.

The restoration project also includes a new oval-shaped paddling pool for kids and changing rooms, and re-landscaped grounds. There is also a pop-up cafe on site.

The art deco lido closed in 2012 when its owner handed the leasehold back to Brighton and Hove City Council after being refused permission to build flats on the site.

It was then sold to the Saltdean Lido Community Interest Company (CIC), which has raised millions of pounds through donations, grants and sponsorship.

Saltdean Lido CIC was set up by local volunteers, all passionate and committed to safeguarding Saltdean Lido and creating a sustainable future for it. 

Saltdean Lido CIC is hoping the new lido will attract tourism to Sussex.

Lidos were once the place where Brits would visit while on holiday – swimming, bathing and playing by the pool was all part of the fun. Packaged holidays abroad, unpredictable weather and the opening of leisure centres changed the future of lidos. Of the 169 lidos built in the UK during the 1930s, only 31 were still open to swimmers in 2016. But with the reopening of Saltdean Lido and others in its wake, that looks set to change.

Saltdean Lido’s renovation project and the way in which the lido, touted as “The People’s Pool”, has been “brought back to life” by a community of local residents is an inspiration to lidos and swimming pools throughout the UK, many of which have been lying empty for years due to lack of funds, as well as to communities wanting to create sustainable swimming pools in their communities.

Sport England have produced guidelines for community groups wanting to create an affordable community swimming pool. The document, which can be viewed here, provides essential reference material for the efficient delivery of affordable and financially sustainable swimming pools.

This weekend’s reopening of Saltdean Lido will not include access to the 1937 Art Deco building and its rooftop.

With most of the building works on the pool now complete, Saltdean Lido CIC will turn their attention to the larger and more expensive project of renovating the rest of the 1937 building, which also houses a local library.

Restoration works on the the Grade 2* listed Art Deco building is expected to be completed in 2020.

Saltdean Lido

Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer who specialises in sustainable lifestyle and living, music, entertainments and wellbeing. Rosalind also works as a spiritual life coach and intuitive advisor helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com

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