New proposals for the Lido site went on show in early 2017.
Grange residents and businesses were asked to comment on a number of different options and potential uses for the site. The preferred option for the site was a 'light touch refurbishment’ scheme which would ensure the site is:
- structurally sound
- brought back in to public use
- offers opportunities for community groups and entrepreneurs to take on newly refurbished units
A more costly solution would have been the wholescale replacements of structures on the Lido site and/or reinstating a functional swimming pool.
At Full Council in February 2019, £2million of capital funding was committed to preserve the site through the 'light touch refurbishment' scheme.
The views of Grange-over-Sands residents and Town Council
Approximately 500 residents viewed the proposed options on show at Victoria Hall. The majority of the public comments were; to preserve the site, not let it deteriorate any further; and to allow public access once again.
|Options||Percentage of responses|
|Option 1: Demolish buildings||22%|
|Option 2: Viewing areas||14%|
|Option 3: "Light touch" renovation||57%|
|Potential uses||Number of responses|
*including information point, leisure centre, pub, viewing platform, play group, museum, market, small business hubs, drama space, splash park, retail units, community hall, sand pits, animal park.
Grange Town Council are supportive of a facility that is inclusive and fully accessible for the community and share our concerns around proposals for a pool.
Why we are spending £2m on this 'light touch refurbishment'
Our most recent costings for stabilising all structures on site would cost about £1.3million.
This is the minimum investment needed in the site to make the structures including the sea wall stable and safe, and minimise any further deterioration to the entire site. This would not allow access for the wider public to the site however, as there would still be a number of risks associated with accessing the site.
An additional £700,000 investment allows us to:
- refurbish the buildings for access and bring them up to a standard so that they might be put back in to use
- make all areas of the site open to the public including the diving platform
- give access to the vast majority of the site for those who are less mobile
- open up views to Morecambe Bay from the terraces along the edge of the site
- temporarily infill the pool basin with materials that could be removed in the future (subject to funding being secured and a viable and sustainable business case that protects the Council)
The light touch refurbishment is likely to take 12 months to complete. We cannot risk leaving the site any longer as any more deterioration could cost more money and lead to the complete loss of parts of the site.
We need to include a ‘contingency budget’ to cover risks of working on this site. The site is difficult to access, is close to the railway line and needs extra care because of its heritage status. The structures that will be repaired include all buildings, the pool basin, the sea wall, and sea tanks that sit under the diving platform and terraces, which will also have significant works done to them.
A non-profit community group, Grange Lido Community Interest Company (CIC), has already expressed an interest in providing the management of the site. Their business plan is being prepared.
Restoring the pool
In 2014, we carried out a feasibility study to look at the option of restoring the outdoor pool.
The study concluded:
- that the pool would need a significant subsidy and contingency over the first few years of operations
- there was a clear possibility that the council might be left with an ongoing liability
- the 2014 figures were studied in detail. The project was shown to represent a substantial risk for our Council finances
We have made it clear that four conditions need to be met before we seriously consider the re-establishment of a pool. The conditions are:
- capital costs being raised to fund any additional works to the site
- a robust and viable business case
- protection for the Council from having to meet ongoing future losses, should they occur
- agreement from Grange Town Council
We have indicated to Save Grange Lido Ltd (Community Benefit Society, CBS) that the temporary, removable infill to the pool can be scheduled towards the end of the construction works, which allows them time to work towards meeting these conditions.
If these conditions are met, or close to being met, we will work with Save Grange Lido Ltd on a revised plan that includes a pool. However, as previously indicated, the remedial work is urgent, so we won’t delay work on the site.
Developing the surrounding area
Berner’s Close car park and the former nursery site to the bottom end of the car park are allocated in the South Lakeland District Council Local Plan for mixed use developments (housing and employment). This piece of land cannot be brought forward for development until a long-term solution is achieved for the former lido site.
Due to access restrictions to the lido (getting materials on site will be difficult due to trains), the car park on the opposite side of the railway will be used for construction deliveries. We will minimise any disruption to local residents and the community of Grange-over-Sands, and communicate regularly with residents on the proposed works.
When the former lido site is accessible to the public, SLDC will begin to look at potential options for the car park and nursery site. Part of the car park would remain to help serve the medical centre, former lido site and any future development on the land allocation.
We are not looking to replace the old footbridge from Berner’s Close car park to the former lido site as there are significant additional costs in building a bridge over the railway line.
Using the Coastal Communities Fund (Round 5) funding
Together with Morecambe Bay Partnership we made a successful £2.35m bid to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Coastal Communities Fund (Round 5). The funding is for job creation and to strengthen the visitor economy around Morecambe Bay.
This funding application was for specific projects. We are the ‘accountable body and lead authority’ so we will enter into a legal agreement with MHCLG. We will be strictly monitored to make sure the work we do matches exactly what was set out in the funding agreement. We can’t alter the funding agreement, or use the funds to put back the pool.
£1m will be used to deliver enhancements to the Grange-over-Sands promenade, and to better connect the former lido site with Grange-over-Sands town centre. This includes lighting the promenade, upgrading the playground equipment on the promenade, resurfacing works, public realm improvements and art installations, as well as upgrading the electrical and digital services to the prom and former lido site.
No work that we carry out will have any impact on possible future uses of the former lido site.