Save Grange Lido Business Plan

We’ve been talking to our expert advisors and a new revised plan will be posted soon.

Our plans for the Lido include the restoration of the iconic mushroom shaped 50m swimming pool to be the focal point of the complex.

The Council’s alternative proposals involve filling-in the pool but this removes the key attraction of the Lido it would cease to have any viable function. We fear a Lido without a pool will not attract sufficient visitors and will continue to be a drain on local taxpayers for a long time to come.

Our plans have been based on careful research, financial data and copy business plans from a number of successfully operating Lidos like the Jubilee Pool in Penzance, Portishead Lido, Saltdean Lido, Faversham Pools, Thames Lido in Reading, Lido Ponty in Wales and Stonehaven in Scotland.

We have now published our report and business plan and our architects are currently working on plans to show how the Lido spaces will be re-modelled to create a viable modern facility. More detailed ones including the proposals for the pool will be available soon.

The plans include the restoration of the 50m six lane pool, a heated 25m pool alongside a paddling and play pool. The complex would also boast a community space, restaurant, sauna, steam room and shop.

The plans have been commissioned by Save Grange Lido who have been presenting proposals to South Lakeland District Council which will see the group raise funds to restore the grade II listed facility and operate the site as a not for profit community venture.

Studio Octopi have produced the plans and were chosen because they have a wealth of experience in swimming pool design. The architects are currently working on a floating swimming pool for the River Thames and restoring a lost Lido in south east London.

Chris Romer-Lee, Director of Studio Octopi and Thames Baths CIC said:

 “Grange Lido is one of the most important surviving coastal lidos in the UK and to work on such a socially and architecturally significant structure is an honour. Grange Lido has three existing elegant pavilions plus the iconic pool and restoration requires architectural sensitivity but also a sharp eye on the business plan. With 2019 being the Year of the Lido, there is something special happening across the country in reawakening these forgotten water palaces. The team look forward to continuing to work with the motivated and skilled community group on unlocking the future of Grange Lido.” 

How the newly restored Lido could look:

A visualisation of how the restored Lido should look

The image above is a representation of how the restored lido might look, but we still have more work to do on the final design and in particular, how the new wing buildings for the entrance & shop and for the kitchens & WCs will look. We are planning to ask our architects to do three options ranging from modern to traditional and to consult on them before settling on a final design.

Some 3.5 million people live within a 50-mile radius of the Lido and the Lake District attracts in the region of 40 million visitors each year. This catchment and the visitors to the region provide a substantial market for the redeveloped lido.


SGL is working with SDLC. We hold regular meetings with officers and councillors. There are 4 conditions for their support:

  • SGL raises the money for the pool (probably between £1.6 and £2 million)
  • That we demonstrate that our business case is viable and sustainable
  • That there is little or no long-term risk to SLDC
  • SGL secures the support of Grange residents and Grange Town Council

SGL is confident that the money can be raised. Our business case is to assessed by independent consultant, who is expected to report by early August 2019.

SGL will meet with SLDC’s finance department to work out how to reduce long term risk but our business plan shows a surplus accumulating over first 5 years which will provide a buffer for, say, a summer of poor weather and low attendance.

SGL has held a productive meeting with Grange Town Council, and is building a relationship with the Council.

SGL has already made great progress. Grants have been received from the Architectural Heritage Fund and Seed Fund. An application has been submitted for lottery funding for the next phase of our work.

SGL is registered with HMRC as a charity and can receive gift aid donations, which effectively adds 25% to the amounts donated.

SGL plans to arrange a community share issue in the near future, and to establish a “Friends of Grange Lido” scheme.

SLDC’s planning application has yet to be submitted but SLDC has confirmed that the light touch work on the buildings (to which they have allocated £2m) will be phased so that any infill will come at the end of the work, giving SGL the time to raise the money and meet the other requirements.

SGL is confident that the business case shows an accumulating surplus over the first 5 years of operation. There will be several income streams:

  • From the pool itself
  • Rent from café/restaurant/commercial tenants
  • Catering from our own swimmers’ café
  • Merchandise sales
  • General fund raising.

The plans are based on a conservative number of swimming visitors plus income from swimming clubs. In its heyday the pool attracted 60,000 visitors per annum. SGL’s case is based on a more conservative figure of 41,000 visitors, figures derived from SLDC’s own research in the 2013 study. Other lidos last year reported huge increases in visitor numbers, although we all know what a good year it was weather-wise.

The plan is for there to be a 50m 6 lane unheated pool. This will be the only 50m pool in Cumbria and would be very attractive to swim clubs/triathletes. There will be a smaller, heated 25m 2 lane pool under diving platform.

Ultimately SGL will look to heat the 50m pool.

The diving platform will be retained but diving from it will not be permitted as the pool is of insufficient depth to meet modern safety requirements for diving from such a height, although it’s likely that the smaller pool will be deep enough to allow diving from the pool side.

Heating will be by air source heat pump. SGL is trying to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

There will be disabled access in accordance with current legislation.

The 50 metre 8 lane pool will vary in depth from 1 metre to 1.35 metre which makes it good for swimmers and non-swimmers and safer for children than a deep-water pool.

The pool will keep its mushroom outline shape, but there will be a walkway separating the 50 metre pool and the heated pool. The pools will use the modern system of deck level flow where the water in the pool flows over the top edge of the pool. This helps to keep the water clean and makes it easier to get in and out of. There is space in the pools for around 300 swimmers.

It is envisaged that there will be competitive training and competitions in the 50 metre pool including facilities for competitive starts from starting platforms and inbuilt automatic timing. The nearest 50 metre pools for Cumbrian swimmers are some distance away at Manchester and Liverpool.

No, sea water is not available to SGL, mainly because we have lost the ability to store water from the sea in tanks where it loses contaminated sediment and can be reused in the pool. These tanks under the terracing can no longer be used and will have to be filled in to make them safe. Another factor is that due to the tidal flows of water in the bay changing it is now difficult to pump water from the sea at times when it is needed.

The pools will use the most modern of chemical and filtration techniques. The water will be continually filtered and cleaned recirculating the entire contents of the pool every 3 to 4 hours. It is filtered in a natural way through a sand bed, and disinfected with very low levels of chlorine at levels only slightly higher than those used in tap water to keep it safe from any infection.

SGL will manage the lido operation and will employ staff with help from volunteers. SGL is committed to paying at least the living wage (not minimum wage) and will aim to recruit locally. It is expected that there will be around 15 full and part time or seasonal staff.

The Berner’s Close car park was built specifically for the Lido and SLDC has indicated a possibility of allocating a percentage of the income from the car park to the restored Lido.

The restaurant and café will be open year-round with separate entrances from the Prom. SGL plans to have the Lido open daily from April to mid-October, and then have weekend opening of the smaller heated section of the pool during the winter.

SGL’s marketing will encourage visitors to travel to the Lido various means, such as bus or bicycle or by train on the beautiful Furness Line and enjoy the stunning walk along the Promenade to reach the Lido.

SGL is a community benefit society with charitable objects. It is similar in structure to a Co-operative and SGL is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The Board of SGL consists of:

  1. Phil Bradby (Chair) – Kendal raised.
  2. Melissa Harrington– local resident of Grange.
  3. Steve Trevillion – Grange resident
  4. David Dawson (Company Secretary)– lives near Ulverston.

The Board is supported by a committee of local people with a range of skills including property and heritage restoration, IT, social work and enterprise, teaching, marketing, design, law, finance, manufacturing, swimming pool design and maintenance.

SGL has an asset lock – once large-scale fund raising begins SGL will nominate a charity to receive any surplus funds if the fund-raising target is not reached or if the plans to properly restore the Lido do not come to fruition.