Thanks to all of you who came along to join us at the Anniversary celebrations for the Lido last weekend. The tours were very well received and no doubt you’ve seen some of the enthusiastic response on various social media channels.
If you have not already seen it you may also enjoy this recently released video. It was recorded over the open weekend by one of our team, Gary Cunliffe. It captures the essence of the open days, with the visitors giving their reactions to the tours, many sharing their visions for the future of Lido. You can find it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEyfWp8bANQ
We know that demand for the tickets far exceeded availability, and we are really sorry if you weren’t successful in securing one for the recent tours. However, we’re pleased to say that we expect South Lakeland District Council to confirm that we can host another couple of events in October, so keep an eye open for news of those events!
We also expect that the report assessing the viability and sustainability of our business plan will be available in a few weeks, so keep a look out for some big news!
Thanks to you all for your tremendous support, we really do appreciate it.
Can we start by saying a huge thank you if you came to our open day last month at the Victoria Hall in Grange. It was a chance to chat to people about our exciting plans and reminisce about those carefree summer days when our pool was the place to go. Amongst the memorabilia on display was a selection of trophies from all the competitions and swimming galas held at Grange Open Air Baths. The engraved list of winners dated all the back to the 1940s and continued right up to the 1990s when the pool closed. The air was filled with gasps of surprise as former winners were reunited with their awards after all these years.
The open day was a chance to share stories and happy memories from those halcyon days. We had several former lifeguards with many behind the scenes tales about life at the Lido. The staff parties after closing time sounded wild! We learned about the guy who used to come for his swim at the same time every day, no matter what the weather. And how the lifeguards used to fight over who got to sound the klaxon to warn people on the sands that the tide was coming in.
So, if you came along, thank you. We hope you enjoyed the free homemade fudge we prepared to tempt you to sign up to our newsletter. If you didn’t sign up at the event, you can do so here. And if you didn’t manage to get the fudge at the event, sorry – it’s because the Save Grange Lido team troughed most of it!
Grange Lido on TV
Did you see the Lido on tv? Didn’t it look fantastic? It featured in a major plotline in episode 3 of the ITV drama The Bay. It was unmistakably our Lido even though the characters referred to it as an abandoned holiday park in Silverdale! The national exposure sent our social media hits into orbit. We were nearly as popular on Twitter as Taylor Swift or videos of cats falling off the arm of the sofa. Lidos around the country are a popular destination for film and tv productions and when our pool is restored, combined with the stunning Morecambe Bay backdrop, I suspect Grange Lido will need its own agent!
See you at our Summer Events
Summer is almost upon us and whilst you won’t be able to have a swim in the Lido this summer, you will be able to catch the SGL crew at a whole host of events around the area. You’ll be able to ask the team for progress updates and shop till you drop from our ever-expanding merchandise range. Take your flexible friend with you as we have prints, posters, greetings cards, badges and all sorts. Treat yourself.
If you do fancy swimming in the open air check out our Facebook page and pop along to one of our outdoor swimming events. The team meet regularly at Fell Foot park and other places to take a dip. Also, several members of the team are competing in the Great North Swim in Windermere in June, we wish them the best of luck.
Latest News on the Lido
Now I’m sure what you really want to know is how are we getting on with getting that pool open again. Behind the scenes our busy beavers are working flat out. SGL are working very closely with South Lakeland District Council to ensure our plans align so that when the phase one ‘Light Touch renovation’ project is complete, we will be in a position to start phase two, the restoration of the pool. We have lots of work to do. We will soon be publishing our revised business plan to submit to SLDC for their approval, once it has been scrutinised by an independent expert. Then the big work starts, raising the money to rebuild the pool. We hope to have more news on this in our next update.
In the meantime, thank you for all your incredible support so far and keep checking our Facebook for all our latest news and for details of the events you will find us at this summer.
If you happen to bump into a member of the Save Grange Lido committee any time soon, feel free to put a friendly arm round them and offer them a strong brew or a large g&t because 2019 has been busier than a Tokyo subway train in rush hour and it’s not even officially spring yet. The green shoots of a change in season are evident though as SGL has made significant progress.
Tim Farron meets with Save Grange Lido
We had a helpful and productive meeting with Tim Farron MP on Monday 25th February, in which we reported the progress of our campaign. Tim is keen that we continue our work in conjunction with SLDC; and he has pledged his support to help Save Grange Lido with our plans for the amazing Lido. Here we are with Tim on the Prom enjoying the sunshine.
SLDC Cabinet meeting – January
We were offered the chance to speak at SLDC’s Cabinet meeting in January and present our case for the saving and reopening of the pool. Our secretary David Dawson presented our compelling case and was endorsed by several councillors. We have always supported SLDC’s ‘Light Touch’ renovation project to restore the buildings at the Lido site but we oppose the proposed temporary infill of the pool.
Councillors voted for the scheme and sadly that did include the infill. However, at the meeting SLDC did agree to continue dialogue with Save Grange Lido and indicated that the infill of the pool may be the final part of the project to allow SGL time to confirm the business case and raise the funds to restore the pool basin.
It’s an exciting time but it does mean a lot of hard work ahead which is not something the SGL committee are frightened of!
If we are to reopen our wonderful Lido it is important that Grange Town Council is fully on board with our plans as we all have the best interests of Grange at heart. We must say a huge thank you to the Town Councillors who agreed to meet us in the Victoria Hall in early February followed by a few pints in the Commodore afterwards. Hopefully we were able to answer all their questions and allay any fears. We realised their concerns are similar to issues raised on social media and in our correspondence.
As a result we’ve added a FAQ section on our website which I’m sure you will find interesting. If there is anything else you’d like to know about our plans, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Save Grange Lido Plans
Speaking of plans, hopefully you saw the artist’s impression of how our restored pool will look plastered all over the local press and probably wrapped around your battered cod and chips. I’m sure you will agree the site looks wonderful and we can’t wait to make this vision a reality. You can examine our detailed plans here.
Save Grange Lido Video
If you would like to find out more about Save Grange Lido, the organisation and our vision, click the image above to check out the video on our Facebook page. Produced by local TV Director James Harrison (BBC, Channel 5), the short film has been viewed over 50,000 times in just a few weeks showing how much interest there is in Grange Lido.
Support from the Hairy Bikers
You may have also seen TV’s the Hairy Bikers in the press, sporting the chic Save Grange Lido pinnys at their recent show in Barrow! You can buy your very own designer pinny alongside the rest of our fabulous merchandise range in our online shop and all proceeds go towards bring back the Lido.
New Poster available
Our most exciting new addition to the shop is the iconic vintage travel poster produced by British Railways in 1949 depicting a painting of our pool with resplendent inviting turquoise water alongside a backdrop of the Lakeland Coast.
It has taken a great deal of hard work by the team to track down this poster and produce high quality reprints. They are now available in poster and postcard formats in our shop.
We must say a huge thank you to the owner of the original print for their kindness and generosity.
National Lido Conference coming to Grange
7th September is a date for your diary, as we are delighted to welcome the National Lido Conference to Grange-Over-Sands. It is an honour that the movers and shakers of the industry will be visiting out town. It will certainly raise the profile of our project and allow us to share the advice and tips of those who have already achieved their vision of restoring a Lido.
Thank you for your support…
2019 has been a pivotal year so far for SGL. We have progressed from a group of passionate locals wanting to save a swimming pool into an incorporated Community Benefit Society that plans not only to save the pool, but to run it for the benefit of the whole community. Thank you so much for all your support so far. We are at the beginning of a very exciting journey!
And welcome to the first of our newsletters for 2019!
I’m sure, like me, you are fed up of the sight of turkey and after indulging in way too many Quality Streets, were wishing there was somewhere to burn off all that Christmas excess. A nice swim, in a 50-metre outdoor pool overlooking the stunning Morecambe Bay would be just the ticket. Well it does feel like that dream is getting a little closer to reality.
The Save Grange Lido committee have been busier than Santa’s elves in the run up to Christmas. If I was to update you on everything we’d make War and Peace look like it was lacking detail.
Thank you to everyone who indulged in a spot of Christmas shopping in our online shop, Save Grange Lido T-shirts and pinnies are the envy of fashionistas everywhere, they’d kill for these on the catwalks in Paris or Milan!
We have also received our first grant. The Architectural Heritage Fund has awarded Save Grange Lido £6265 match funding towards architect designs for the site and funding towards official incorporation of the group. This is a fantastic start to our campaign and allows us to make real progress.
Incorporation of the group will take place in January. Save Grange Lido will become a Community Benefit Society with charitable status, this will allow us to get gift aid, apply for serious grants, and potentially run the Lido.
We’ve also received a £500 donation from Troutbeck Bridge Amateur Swimming Club and an award of £150 from the Furness Building Society Community fund. Many businesses have been helping too, from 10% donations from dog grooming to the contents of the Commodore’s copper pot.
The big news from the campaign is the full council meeting which took place in Kendal on the 18th December. We packed the public gallery in Kendal Town Hall and filled the place with cheering and stomping!
To qualify for the council debate we needed over one thousand local names on our petition. We managed over 3000 signatures on the paper petition and the online version attracted over 14,000.
At the debate our Chairman Phil Bradby was given 5 minutes to persuade councillors that the pool needs to be retained in any future development plans at the site. Local swimming expert Terry Lambert also gave a speech in support of the pool highlighting how competitive swimmers in Cumbria face a huge disadvantage without the provision of a 50-metre pool in the county.
A lively debate ensured. Several councillors made impassioned speeches in our favour. There was opposition and caution too. The Liberal Democrats are in overall control of the council and following the debate they have agreed to work with us on our business plan as long as we satisfy three conditions:
We have to show that we can raise the money to restore the pool.
We must be able to reassure SLDC that the long term risk to them will be reduced or eliminated
We must secure the support of Grange residents and Grange Town Council.
We will be working hard to meet all of these criteria early in the new year ahead of the Council’s cabinet meeting. This takes place in January. This is a really important meeting as Councillors will be voting on the budget to restore the Lido and infilling the pool. We must thank SLDC for allowing us to speak at the meeting to present our case to retain the pool.
Our campaign is certainly getting noticed. We’ve been in the Westmorland Gazette, The Mail, Lancashire Life, BBC news, Radio Cumbria, Heart and Smooth Radio and we will be part of a new Radio 4 documentary in the spring. Also, the Lido will star in a new ITV drama called ‘The Bay’ which airs early in the new year.
We’ve had some celebrity supporters too. Dave Myers, one half of TV’s Hairy Bikers, has recorded a video which you can see on our Facebook page, reminiscing about catching the train from Barrow for a swim in the Lido in the summer holidays. Adam Rickitt, star of Coronation Street and now Hollyoaks has tweeted his support and journalist from the Spectator, Isabell Hardman, recently completed a marathon in a ‘Save Grange Lido’ T-shirt.
As I say there has been loads more going on behind the scenes and it looks as if January is going to be one of our busiest and most important months yet. Keep an eye out on the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all of our latest news.
On behalf of the Save Grange Lido committee can I say a huge thank you for all your support in 2018 and we look forward to making more huge progress in 2019.
Highlight of the week… Of course, this was on Wednesday 19th September, when Save Grange Lido (SGL) representatives attended the Grange Council Chambers in Victoria Hall. Present were Councillors from South Lakeland District Council (SLDC), Grange Town Council (GTC) and Cumbria County Council (CCC) along with Council staff and an architect.
SGL Chairman Phil Bradby and Steve Trevillion presented the preliminary business plan that they had prepared after 6 months of hard work. The plan clearly shows that it is viable for the beautiful Lido to be restored as an outdoor swimming facility on a long-term basis.
This would take away the current burden on the taxpayer, whilst bringing an attractive return annually for the community. Long term it would not become a further “white elephant” or burden on the council and the residents of SLDC.
Restoring the building as a pool and opening it as a Lido along with the other proposals within the plan, creating new jobs and boosting business in the area, revitalising Grange. It would result in a fantastic tourist attraction, a focal point for the community to be proud of, whilst also being an excellent health and wellbeing facility for both residents and visitors alike.
SGL made it clear that they were keen to work with Grange (TC) & SLDC to restore the Lido its’ former glory and beyond.
During the meeting the head of SLDC, Councillor Giles Archibald agreed that SGL would be allowed access to the Lido. This means that our experts can examine the pool and buildings so accurate costings and plans could be prepared.
It was also confirmed that SLDC were working in partnership with Grange Lido CIC on the Lido with a “soft touch” restoration, including an “infill”. The CIC was incorporated in April this year by SLDC Chairman, Councillor Eric Morell & GTC Mayor /Chairman, Councillor Peter Endsor & Councillor Clare Logan, with one other member. When asked for a business plan it was clear that currently they don’t have one to support their proposal. They did however agree to present their plan when completed to SGL at a date to be arranged.
SGL left the meeting feel they had made some progress and embraced the prospect of having access to the pool to obtain the details for the true projected capital costs of the restoration.
It was quite deflating when some 24 hours later a nameless SLDC “spokesperson” was quoted in the Westmorland Gazette saying “SLDC is moving forward to restore the lido site in a way that is sympathetic to its listed status and to secure its long-term future as a sustainable community asset. This includes a temporary infill of the pool which would not preclude future plans for the site.”
The full article including quotes from SGL Chairman Phil Bradby can be seen here
This was later followed up on BBC Radio Cumbria, with Deputy Leader, SLDC Councillor Jonathan Brook, proposing a “light touch” restoration that would cost £2million and further stating that if you go to the next stage and “rewater” that you are probably “quadrupling” that cost.
This is in total contrast to extensive research that SGL have done with other Lido’s that have been restored and not even supported by SLDC’s own feasibility studies. Our early indications from experts in the field are that this figure has been well inflated and is not substantiated.
SGL member Steve Trevillion was interviewed on BBC Radio Cumbria on two occasions this week prior to and after the plan was presented. The interviews gave an accurate and true reflection of the position and the plan all of which are corroborated by research, facts and figures.
In other news …..
Earlier in the week Councillor James Airey & the Westmorland Conservatives showed initial support of SGL with a release on their website asking the Council to explore all options on the Lido and South Lakes.
Labour have already given their full support for the Lido to be restored as a swimming pool along with the other facilities SGL have suggested on the site.
There was a lot of press & media coverage with articles appearing in the Westmorland Gazette and North West evening news and a lot of social media activity.
On Sunday the hand signed petition to SLDC closed. Counting to date shows that the 1,000 signature target needed for it to be presented to the Council has easily been reached and exceeded. The counting continues this week. Thank you to very much to everyone who supported and signed the petitions, including the many people and businesses that helped with the petitioning.
A Grange bakery has sweetened the campaign to save the historic pool on Grange Promenade by producing delicious Li-Do-nuts!
The sweet treats have been selling like hot cakes and are a good indication of the support in the town to save the pool from locals and Grange businesses who see the benefits the attraction could bring to the local economy.
Joanne Errington, shop manager at Grange Bakery said,
”The donuts have been flying off the shelves. Every batch we have made has been sold out in no time. It really is getting people talking about the Lido and sharing their memories of splashing around in the pool. Our customers are really keen on reviving the Lido and getting involved in the campaign. I, personally, spent many happy summers in that pool and I think it would be really good for everyone in the town to see it open and thriving again.”
Chris Barron, local business owner and member of Save Grange Lido said
“As soon as I saw the photo of the donuts on Facebook I popped down to the bakery but they were sold out. They have been sold out at least three times this week”.
“Restoring the Lido would be excellent for the local shops and businesses bringing visitors to the town. The Lido is an icon of Grange and the only surviving seaside Lido in the North of England so potentially a huge attraction.”
“Its such an important part of our history and could once again be central to tourism in the South Lakes. We are sure any investment in the Lido would pay dividends to the local shops, hotels, restaurants and other business.”
Recently, Save Grange Lido, a local campaign group, set up a petition, which attracted over 7000 signatures in just 7 days. The group are currently putting the finishing touches to a business plan to present to South Lakeland District Council with the aim of restoring the derelict open-air pool on Grange Promenade.
The 1930s art deco gem, the last of its kind in Northern England, closed its doors in 1993 and has been slowly rotting away ever since, despite numerous revival schemes over the years.
Owners SLDC are planning on spending nearly 2 million pounds on the grade II listed structure, however their proposals involve repairing the buildings but filling in the pool with concrete.
Save Grange Lido, a diverse group of experienced and passionate locals, aim to change SLDC’s thinking by presenting an ambitious but robust business plan to return the site to its former glory.
Phil Bradby, Chair of Save Grange Lido, said
“Lidos are very popular again and are helping bring investment, jobs and business to the towns fortunate enough to have them.
“We have researched and visited a large number of other lidos across the country and have seen just how successful Grange Lido could be.
“Other lidos show that Grange Lido could obtain the funding necessary to be restored and operate very successfully in the future.
“Times have changed a lot since the pool closed in 1993 and lidos are now booming again.
“SLDC are fortunate to have such a rare Lido and should look again at fantastic potential to create a unique tourist attraction.
Our online petition to Save Grange Lido has attracted over 4000 signatures in just four days, which means the issue can now be debated by South Lakeland District Council’s cabinet.
We are putting the finishing touches to a business plan to present to South Lakeland District Council who are currently planning on investing nearly 2 million pounds to save the grade II listed structure, however their plans do not include restoring swimming to the site.
Our Save Grange Lido group comprises of passionate locals who aim to change SLDC’s thinking by presenting an ambitious but robust and fully costed business plan to return the site to its former glory.
Pam Parker, who launched the petition on ‘change.org’ and is on the Save Grange Lido Committee said,
“When we launched the petition I thought it would take a few weeks to collect the signatures we needed but I was astonished to see the number of signatures rise so quickly. We reached the target of 1000 in just a few hours!”
“The petition says: ‘We want Grange Lido restoration to include the swimming pool, and South Lakeland District Council to confirm that any option without a swimming pool will be ruled out” we hope this will get the council to confirm that they will not fill the pool basin with concrete as they are planning to do.’
Pam said “SLDC rules say that petitions with 1000 or more signatures must be debated in Full Council which will give us a fantastic opportunity to hear what the councillors have to say.”
In 2018 a Community Interest Company was established to find alternative uses for the pool site. They have ruled out swimming and claim public interest in retaining a pool has fallen remarkedly.
Phil Bradby, chair of Save Grange Lido, said “this statement from the CIC is clearly not true at all. The interest in the Lido and outdoor swimming has never been higher as the incredible response to the petition and the 3000 supporters on Facebook show. Some councillors have also been saying that in the last consultation showed that there was no local interest in swimming in the Lido but they neglect to say that the consultation didn’t offer swimming as an option! The consultation immediately before it which had a swimming pool in the range of options showed that 74% of people wanted it restored as a swimming pool”
“We think that without a swimming pool the Lido ceases to have any function and won’t attract visitors. It will just become a sad patch of concrete where a Lido used to be and no-doubt will become another council white elephant”
“Sport for England’s Active People Survey showed the huge increase in outdoor swimming in the last few years and other Lidos in the country have seen a huge renaissance and are booming. They say that swimming is still the UK’s most popular participation sport with 2.5 million adults swimming each week”
“Grange Lido has the potential to be the jewel in South Lakes’ crown and to attract visitors from far and wide. We are confident that our business plan can make the Lido economically viable and would bring excellent value to local taxpayers and swimmers alike”
The plan acknowledges the difficulty of making a swimming pool pay its way in the temperamental UK climate, however, Grange Lido is very fortunate to have a good range of useful buildings which present excellent opportunities to generate income to cover the running costs of the whole facility. The imaginative use of these buildings is the key to the successful redevelopment and future of the Lido.
If you would like to support our cause, please sign our online petition. A link can be found here.
Members of the Save Grange Lido group meet with local MP Tim Farron
Members of the Save Grange Lido group met with Tim Farron on Thursday 10th May when he was in Grange-over-Sands for his Town Hall Meeting at Grange Parish Church, where residents were able to put their questions to Tim and raise and discuss issues of concern to local people.
The meeting was very successful and good natured, some of the group had dressed in swimming costumes for the event, which helped to bringa smile to proceedings. It also helped to attract attention to the cause of saving Grange Lido from local and national press and radio stations, bringing much needed publicity to the group.