Next step agreed towards lido and promenade rejuvenation

19 March 2021

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) has taken a major step forward on its journey to making the derelict Grange Lido site stable, safe and accessible.

SLDC's Cabinet has approved the contract award to the preferred bidder IBI Group after receiving cross-party support for moving to phase one of the repair and refurbishment, as well as plans to repair and rejuvenate the promenade.

The work at the derelict SLDC-owned lido will preserve it for the benefit of the community and see it reopen to the public again after more than 25 years, creating a new multi-use public space for the local community and visitors.

The multi-million pound project will also encourage greater tourism to the Grange area and wider Morecambe Bay area, as well as protect the site’s immense social and cultural heritage in a way which doesn’t preclude the option of bringing the pool back into use sometime in the future.

SLDC continues to remain open to exploring long-term and sustainable offers for the site.

Lido – outside: An artist's impression of the view of the  refurbished lido site from Grange Promenade

Pictured above: An artist's impression of the view from "poolside" looking across the landscaped lido site towards the historic diving platform

Cabinet was told that the Grade II-listed site was not currently on the ‘at risk register’ maintained by Historic England, but it was reasonable to assume that this would happen within the next three to seven years if the site was left. Failing to re-purpose the site and undertake essential structural repair works which are necessary for the proper preservation of the building or works that are urgently necessary for the preservation of the listed building would inevitable leave future administrations liable for even greater costs.

The total cost of all the work on the lido and promenade will be £5.18 million, which includes £1.1 million for the promenade from a £2,351,200 grant the Morecambe Bay Partnership received from the Coastal Communities Fund, added to the £1.1 million SLDC had allocated to the promenade part of the project. SLDC had previously earmarked £1.96 million for the lido work.

Cabinet approved the contract award and agreed to ask Full Council to approve meeting a funding shortfall of £867,047 over the original budget from capital reserves. It was agreed that proceeding was also conditional upon the confirmation and satisfactory negotiation of the terms of the Coastal Communities Fund grant agreement.

An artist's impression of the view of the refurbished lido site from Grange Promenade

Pictured above: An artist's impression of the view of the refurbished lido site from Grange Promenade

Cllr Brook told the Cabinet meeting: “Grange Lido is clearly an iconic structure which together with the promenade and children's play area all form part of a much-loved resource for the town of Grange, for South Lakeland and further beyond and it is important that the council as owners of these structures looks to invest and work with others, particularly Grange Town Council, Morecambe Bay Partnership and Save Grange Lido to protect, rejuvenate and enhance this whole area.

"The world is a very different place now than it was two years ago. However, the principles underpinning the scheme remain the same and, indeed, I would argue there is even greater imperative now to invest in the future than there was before. Despite the increasing constraints on council budgets and the additional costs which have emerged through the Covid-19 affected tendering process we are determined to press ahead.

"We very much look forward to work commencing in the near future and to the time when the rejuvenated lido, promenade and children's play area can all be enjoyed together in this beautiful and unique location."

In February last year, SLDC's planning committee considered the application and listed building consent needed in order to carry out the repairs and voted to approve the lido scheme

The lido project will include stabilising the structures and refurbishing the buildings for access and bringing them up to a standard so that they can be put back in to use and create an income to help maintain the site; adding an appropriate infill to the pool which won't preclude future re-watering; making all areas of the site open to the public and giving access to the vast majority of the site for those who are less mobile. This will also open up views to Morecambe Bay from the terraces along the edge perimeter of the site.

Improvements to the promenade, subject to planning permission, will include: repairs to unstable sections of the sea defence wall; infrastructure for future promenade lighting; a new children’s play area on the prom; resurfacing works; and public realm improvements, including new public artworks.

Councillor Robin Ashcroft, Portfolio Holder for Economy, Culture and Leisure, said: "This has been a massive and complex project and I am delighted to see this moving forward. What we are doing is shifting something that is a major liability to the council, investing but investing with good reasons, and I think over the course of time this will become a major asset for the district, not least with some of the very ambitious plans tied in with the Eden Project North and the knock-on effects of that."

The lido was constructed in 1932 and remained open for 61 years until its closure in 1993 due to a combination of low usage and increasing operational and repair costs.