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22 February 2015, 09:21
Campaigners fighting to restore a derelict outdoor swimming pool on the outskirts of Brighton have won £4.7 million of lottery funding.
The money from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will help transform the entire Saltdean Lido site bringing both the pool and art-deco building back into use.
The Saltdean Lido Community Interest Company (CIC) says the development will turn the site into a modern leisure destination providing the local community with a heated outdoor pool, indoor and outdoor play areas, café, gym, community and function rooms and a revived library.
Chair Rebecca Crook said: "The backing of HLF has always been central to the success of our project and we are delighted that all our hard work is coming to fruition. The Saltdean Lido CIC will be creating new jobs and bringing new revenue and much needed investment to the area."
The Lido was originally designed as the centre-piece of Saltdean's new seaside resort and first opened in 1938. Comprising an iconic Art-Deco building and three pools, it was created to elevate Saltdean's status as a fashionable resort in the competitive 1930s British holiday market.
After just three successful seasons it closed in summer of 1940 and didn't reopen to the public again until 1964. During the Second World War the National Fire Service used the pool as a water tank and its ground for training.
The onset of war halted Saltdean's development and so in the years after, the Lido's changing rooms were sanctified and used for church services and a Sunday school.
With the exception of the council run local library and a number of small-scale commercial activities in a 1960s extension, the site has been vacant since 2011 and is currently on English Heritage's At Risk Register.
Ben Greener, HLF's Historic Environment Advisor, said "When it was built, Saltdean Lido was the beating heart of a successful seaside resort. Sadly, as the lido declined, so did Saltdean. Yet local people never forgot how important this heritage icon was to their town.
"Now, through Heritage Enterprise, the Heritage Lottery Fund is enabling the community to find a sustainable solution for this precious local landmark, signalling Saltdean's return to prosperity whilst saving one of the most significant lidos in the UK."
Saltdean Lido CIC still has another £2 million to raise to fund the project. It will be issuing a Community Share Scheme similar to that undertaken by Hastings Pier last year which raised £600,000.
Simon Kirby, Member of Parliament for Saltdean, said: "This £4.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund is fantastic news. As a long-time supporter of the Lido campaign I am delighted that we have taken another huge step forward.
"Huge credit must go to the Community Interest Company who I know have worked so tirelessly to achieve this excellent result."