South Lakeland DC has secured planning approval for the Phase 1 work at the Lido. We spoke to the planning meeting and here’s what we said.

Save Grange Lido’s address to planning committee 27 Feb 2020

South Lakeland DC has secured planning approval for the Phase 1 work at the Lido.
We spoke to the planning meeting and here’s what we said…

Good morning, I’m David Dawson, Company Secretary of Save Grange Lido Ltd. Thank you for the opportunity to address you today about the applications for the Lido. Save Grange Lido Ltd is a Community Benefit Society recognised as a charity by HMRC, aiming to fully restore the Lido with a swimming pool at its heart.

The Lido is a unique asset for SLDC. It’s one of only 4 surviving coastal Lidos in the country, and the only one in the North. Its heritage significance cannot be understated and we welcome the Council’s determination and commitment to bring the Lido back into use through the phase one restoration of the long-neglected site.

SGL has worked closely with Councillors and Officers since October 2018 in moving towards a two-phase approach to the restoration work, and the Council confirmed in January 2019 that we would receive its support in that work provided that we meet the Council’s conditions.

We’ve been working towards meeting those conditions but this is not the forum to discuss those matters – I just wanted to make Councillors aware of the substantial progress we’ve made. In the coming weeks we expect further significant developments. We’ve gathered substantial public support both locally and nationally, and are raising funds for the development work we need to do in readiness for a planning application for Phase 2. We’ve just been awarded a second grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund to help with that work.

We’ve written in support of both applications. I’ll summarise our comments:

  1. We welcome SLDC’s commitment that the pool landscaping infill will take place at the end of phase 1, giving us the time to raise the capital funds we need.
  2. If at the end of phase 1 we’ve raised a significant proportion of the capital needed, then we’ll be permitted to manage the central pavilion as a heritage attraction – a sensible “meanwhile use” of the property.

That is the basis of our support for the applications.

We’d like to highlight a number of detailed planning and heritage issues. We raised these in a letter dated 28 November 2019, and we’re meeting with officers and our respective architects on 11 March to discuss these, but of particular concern are:

  1. The diving platform is the focal point of the Lido and is of large historic significance. We are concerned that it is proposed to retain the 1970s concrete block addition to the top level. There is an opportunity to restore the original Art Deco design and we are keen that the details for the platform are more thoroughly considered and any harm fully justified so that the heritage impact is mitigated.
  2. The glazing. The officer recommends a condition regarding glazing but our Heritage Architect’s opinion is that the condition does not go far enough, as there is no detailed specification set out in the proposed condition. It is important that the replacement windows are used as to enhance the heritage of the Lido. There is also some uncertainty in the documents about what is to happen to the blind windows facing the promenade.
  3. We’re concerned about the replacement of the masonry section of the sea-wall perimeter with glazing, for both practical and aesthetic considerations. On the practical side, we’re worried about flood resilience and the high maintenance cost of a glazed seaward facing perimeter.

All of our concerns are set out in the letter of 28 November.

In summary, Phase 1 is an opportunity to begin the work which will reinforce the Lido’s status as a unique heritage asset of regional, if not national, historic importance. The heritage impact of the proposals needs careful consideration, and there are many beneficial changes to the detail which could be made to help to mitigate any adverse heritage impacts of the scheme.

We support the applications, but there are issues of detail that can to be addressed so that phases 1 and 2 can be better aligned, as this will result in substantial consequential cost savings for the Council and the phase 2 work of SGL.

Thank you.

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