Council backs plans West Marina pavilion

The old bathing pool site, St Leonards
The old bathing pool site, St Leonards

THE proposed Lido pavilion at West Marina received a resounding vote of confidence as councillors gave the go-ahead for a seven-year lease of the West St Leonards site.

The hope is that the development of a year-round beach venue will act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the area.

Leader of Hastings Borough Council Jeremy Birch said at a meeting of the cabinet: “Here we have an idea that appears to be practical and viable in the short term.”

“If it sparks off more ideas for the future then all the better.”

Further development still rests on planning permission being granted, and the necessary £1.4 million of investment being secured for the venue, which is to be constructed on the site of the old bathing pool using recycled shipping containers.

Something that could be a major obstacle to the proposed beach venue, is Southern Water’s malfunctioning water storage tank, housed below ground level at West Marina.

Technical problems have led to a build-up of waste material, and resulted in odour and occasional discharge being emitted from the Bo Peep outfall pipe.

Adam Daly, on behalf of the Lido developers, said: “We quickly realised that this could be a major problem for the Lido project and any other coastal regeneration plans for the area. Since then we have been working closely with Hastings Borough Council to resolve the issues and are pleased with the progress we have made so far in discussions with the Environment Agency and Southern Water.

“Once this problem has been resolved and Lido is operational we intend to apply for the beach to be awarded Blue Flag status.”

Environment officer Jamie Benton, from the Environment Agency, added: “We are aware of ongoing infrastructure issues related to the sewage system in West St Leonards. There have been some non permitted discharges into the sea at Bulverhythe which we have investigated and which we would like stopped to minimise the impact on the environment.

“We recognise that it is a complex situation and that Southern Water is facing technical difficulties but we will be maintaining pressure on Southern Water to rectify the problems.”

At the cabinet meeting, councillors praised the efforts of the team behind the Lido pavilion, to involve local residents and groups at every stage in the process.

Councillor Trevor Webb said: “What I find good about this particular scheme is the developers are keen to get people involved.”

Councillor Peter Finch said that negative comments about the shipping containers were very destructive, adding: “I would like everyone to give this a real chance, and wait and see what is proposed.”