Parties involved in the much-anticipated Grange Lido and Promenade restoration came together to mark the imminent start of the work.

Representatives from South Lakeland District Council, main contractor RH Irving Construction and Save Grange Lido Community Benefit Society, as well as Grange Town Council and the incoming Westmorland and Furness Council, met at the lido to look forward to work starting in the coming weeks.

Preparatory work starts today before main contractors RH Irving Construction come on site from 24 April.

Councillor Jonathan Brook, Leader of South Lakeland District Council and the incoming Westmorland and Furness Council, said: “I am delighted we are at this stage of being on the cusp of starting work on the lido and promenade refurbishment. Looking around the lido, I can’t wait to see this project take shape, creating a fantastic public space which retains the option of reinstating the pool easily in the future.”

South Lakeland District Council approved additional funding of £1,793,800 in November to ensure restoration work on Grange Lido and Promenade could start before the end of March, bringing the total cost of the project to £6.8m.

This includes £4.9m for the lido, and £1.6m for the promenade, partly made up of £1m from a £2.3m Coastal Communities Fund grant received jointly with Morecambe Bay Partnership to deliver a sustainable tourism programme around Morecambe Bay.

The whole project, which will see the lido open to the public again with a temporary infill to the pool to create a new multi-use public space for the local community and visitors, is set to take 14 months to complete.

Work on the new play park on the promenade is scheduled to start in the late spring and be finished in the summer.

SLDC continues to remain open to exploring long-term and sustainable offers for the operating of the site as a pool.

Whilst work is undertaken Save Grange Lido Community Benefit Society will continue securing £4.5 million for phase two – the reopening of the pool as a leisure, heritage and tourism destination.

The pool would be temporarily infilled to a level with a granular material which is removable, suitable for future recycling and will allow for reinstatement should SGL fulfil their future ambitions. This will create a usable and attractive public space for the benefit of the community in the meantime.

Additional work relating to the pool itself includes:

  • the cleaning and refurbishment of the original pool drains located at the base of the pool, which are currently silted up;
  • re-seating of the pool copings and localised concrete repairs to the top of the pool side walls;
  • refurbishment of the glazed scum channels.

Mark Moodycliffe, managing director of RH Irving Construction, said: “We are excited to be starting work shortly as the main contractor on this important, prestigious and challenging project.

“It will be great to see the project develop over the coming months and see the lido site open to the public and the promenade rejuvenated, bringing great benefits to the community.”

Councillor Robin Ashcroft, Portfolio Holder for Economy, Culture and Leisure, said: “Making the lido a useable space and revitalising the promenade is immensely exciting for Grange, South Lakeland, Westmorland and Furness, Morecambe Bay and further much further afield.

“The lido and prom together will become a major asset to support our communities and economy in being an even more attractive location for future generations to live and work. This significant and unique asset has been closed for 30 years and we are delighted to be able to make this major financial commitment to have it open to the public again.”

Janet Carter, chair of the SGL CBS Board of Trustees, said: “This is inspiring news for the team at SGL, the community and in fact the whole of Cumbria.

“We know we have a lot to do, our focus will be fundraising to follow on with Phase 2, which includes the full pool reinstatement.  The fact that Phase 1, the work to stabilise the pool and buildings is under way will go a long way to strengthening our funding bids.

“We would like to thank the councillors and officers at SLDC for the time they have dedicated to working with us, and of course our partners and supporters for everything they do. Today the pool is a huge step closer to being open as an iconic heritage asset for all to enjoy and benefit from once again.”

Work on the lido will include an upgrade of the central and focal pavilion building to create flexible and adaptable space which will be an opportunity for a future partner to occupy and develop the lido for future alternative uses; creation of an accessible entrance design from the promenade; and, the insertion of a removable landscape intervention within the former pool area. The male and female changing accommodation will be mothballed internally for refurbishment at a later stage, although will benefit from stabilisation works including the roof and terraces, security, cleaning, and external decoration.

Significant structural and architectural works will repair the concrete terracing around the perimeter of the pool, including strategic concrete repairs to the diving board structure.

Following these construction activities, members of the public will have full access to the seating terraces that overlook the central pool space. The site will be fully secured at night via a sympathetic approach to reinstating the original red brick walls and gate running parallel with the promenade.

A new sub-station will be located to the land adjacent to the Lido entrance, providing a suitable electrical supply and fibre/telecom connection for the scheme, and to support  future development aspirations.

Work on the 1,900m-long promenade will include the removal of unstable sections of the sea defence wall; the application of a durable coating to the upper surface of the promenade; and, a combination of pre-cast and in situ concrete repairs to the upper edge “bull nose” and sea-facing elevation of the sea wall.

The work also includes connectivity works to link the promenade to the town; public realm furniture; signage; improvements to railings; and the new playground area.

One of only four remaining listed coastal lidos in England, the lido was constructed in 1932 and remained open for 61 years until its closure in 1993 due to a combination of low usage and increasing operational and repair costs. It is the earliest and most complete example of a 20th Century listed seawater lido in England.

Rob Chatwin, Group CEO of the Eden Project, which is delivering Eden Project Morecambe, said: “We’re very pleased that refurbishment work is starting at Grange Lido and we’re looking forward to seeing how the project develops. Morecambe Bay is a unique and special place and the leisure and cultural boost projects like this provide have huge benefits for the community as well as enhancing the area’s appeal to visitors.”