Lido given resounding ‘yes’ by town planners

DEVELOPERS’ ambitious plans for a new leisure and entertainment complex on the site of the old bathing pool in St Leonards got the go-ahead this week.

Councillors gave a unanimous vote of confidence for The Lido at their planning committee meeting on Tuesday.

The £1 million scheme on the West Marina seafront, includes a restaurant and bar, sun decks, sea viewing tower, shower room facilities, a shop for water sports equipment, as well as cycling facilities, parking and a community garden.

The complex is to be built from transport containers.

But objectors opposed to the plans, which have a temporary seven-year lease, were not happy.

La Verne Preston, of Grosvenor Gardens, set up a petition, signed by almost 700 people, who wanted to see an ‘eco-village’ for the site, which included a natural bathing pool, sea garden, and outdoor gym.

She said: “This is a prime seaside spot and should be respected as such. People will not come from the Old Town and from London to see shipping containers and bars.

“The artist’s impression published in the Observer’s article led people to think that a bathing pool was on the agenda, hence the name Lido.”

Adam Daly, speaking on behalf of the developers, said: “We have made great efforts to engage with the local and wider community as much as possible. In general we have had an awful lot of support for this project.

“It will boost the local economy and create jobs. We are using recycled materials as much as possible.

“We want to develop a stylish and chic piece of architecture. It’s not going to be shabby or decrepit.”

Cllr Peter Pragnell supported the scheme, saying the area had been ignored for many years and fallen into rack and ruin.

Cllr Godfrey Daniel said: “This is an ambitious project and not everyone is going to be happy. But we have to take a few risks to make our town better and create new jobs. In this part of town there has been relatively little investment for many years.”

Cllr Peter Finch, local ward councillor, said: “This application is an opportunity to plant the first seeds of progress and the regeneration of West St Leonards.

“For years this has been a blighted area. The Pebsham tip, the main A259 road, and the eyesore once called MFI, have all been factors that have downgraded the area and put it out of people’s minds as a place to go.

“When the old bathing pool was demolished this opened up the potential to develop the last seafront open space. Over the past many proposals have been voiced as to what should be done.

“This application, although only for seven years, gives us time and breathing space for the economy to pick up and other money and proposals to be considered and worked on.

“St Leonards should be a destination, not competition to the Old Town, but to complement it by offering visitors and residents something a little different with less noise and bussle, and at the same time injecting much-needed support and revenue to this long-neglected part of our town.”