Decision details

Grange-over-Sands Lido and Promenade

Decision Maker: Council

Decision status: For Determination

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

To take the additional funding request to full council for recommended approval, subject to cabinet on 1 November

Decisions:

Councillor Jonathan Brook, Leader and Promoting South Lakeland and Innovation Portfolio Holder, presented a report on the Grange-over-Sands Lido and Promenade. He outlined the Council’s plans to open the Lido site to the general public for the first time in 30 years and noted the importance of the site as a heritage asset.

 

The report provided a summary of the history of the site and highlighted the recent decisions to open the site up to the public and improve the promenade, which had been considered by Cabinet in March 2021 as well as by the Planning Committee (SL/2019/0803, SL/2019/0804 and SL/2020/0103). Members’ attention was drawn to the rationale for intervention and delivery of the full scheme, which was driven by the rapidly deteriorating structural elements at the Lido. It was noted that there was a risk of structural failure and potential heritage enforcement action if the Lido site was not repaired.

 

The report set out details in relation to the delivery of the full scheme, including both the Lido and the Promenade and the projected costs at an estimated £6.8 million.  Councillor Brook highlighted the project shortfall of £1,793,800 and informed Members that the proposal was to fund the shortfall through CIL contribution and the NNDR Pool reserve.  He added that, due to the unstable economic conditions, there was a risk of increased costs if the project was delayed.  The report further indicated the potential in the future for the Council to access new funding streams to fund the project, such as the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and the Rural Prosperity Fund.

 

Councillor Brook informed Council that Cabinet had, earlier in the day, given approval for the scheme, and that Council was now being asked to approve the additional funding of £1,793,800 to be included in the Capital Programme 2022/23 for undertaking the full scheme to repair and refurbish the Lido and Promenade in Grange-over-Sands.  He moved the recommendation contained within the report and was seconded by Councillor Robin Ashcroft, Economy, Culture and Leisure Portfolio Holder.

 

Cllr Giles Archibald referred to the long history of the site and expressed support for the project.  He thanked Councillor Brook, Councillor Andrew Jarvis, Deputy Leader and Finance and Assets Portfolio Holder and the Finance Lead Specialist for ensuring the prudent management of the Council’s finances which enabled this project to go ahead.  He pointed out that there was still potential for the site to become a lido again, with Save Grange Lido still strongly engaged in the matter.

 

Councillor John Holmes, although fully supportive of the project, expressed disappointment in the time taken.  He further expressed strong concerns regarding the project having to go out to tender again and the potential problems that this could bring.  Councillor Holmes sought assurance that the project would work and further queried the increase in projected costs at 3.4.2.8.

 

Councillor Brook agreed that this had taken a lot longer than originally envisaged but stressed the fact this was a highly complex programme in relation to a heritage asset.  It had been difficult to make progress and new issues had constantly been emerging.  Despite this, he informed Members that it was intended for a start to be made in February 2023.

 

Councillor Jarvis provided an explanation with regard to the costs and process required to be followed regarding the procurement process.  He explained that, in relation to the decision taken in March 2020, those costs were no longer sufficient to cover scope and value of the scheme.  He stressed the fact that, should the Council approve the recommendation this evening, the tender exercise would commence on 4 November.

 

Councillor Peter Thornton, supporting the proposal, further expanded on the history of the site, including additional problems as a result of the listing of the site and, in addition, the Save Grange Lido group then having come forward with the challenge to make the site work as lido.  He felt that it was wrong to suggest that nothing had happened and stressed the need for a start to be made now.

 

Councillor Fiona Hanlon thanked officers, the Acting Operational Lead for Assets and Commercial Services and the Economy and Culture Specialist, for their work on this complex issue and expressed her support.  She referred to the proposal earlier in the day for a footpath and cycleway around the Bay and its likely positive impact on the lido.  She questioned the potential of separating the playground out from the whole project and to prioritise that work.

 

Councillor Brook reassured Councillor Hanlon that it was proposed that the play area would be the first thing dealt with as part of the plan should Council approve the recommendation today.  If the footpath and cycleway round the Bay came to fruition, he agreed that this would have a positive impact on the lido.  This asset was not simply one for Grange but also for South Lakeland and for Westmorland and Furness.  He also drew attention to the forthcoming increase in the BAE Systems workforce and the fact that these people would need places for leisure.  He hoped that the lido would play a part in this in the future.

 

Councillor Janette Jenkinson said that Grange pool had a special place in her heart.  She also expressed disappointment in the delays, however, backed the additional funding required.  She drew attention to comments raised by Councillor Ashcroft at a meeting of the Cabinet earlier in the day.  He had been pleased to view this as an investment in future place making and the health and wellbeing of the community.  In addition, Councillor Roger Bingham had mentioned the old mangle outside the changing rooms and had made reference to knitted bathing suits!  This, she reminisced, had been fantastic, and she hoped also that Save Grange Lido succeeded in the future and wished the Group well.

 

Councillor Kevin Lancaster said that the state of Grange had been an issue for many years and certainly since 1974 when this Council had come into being.  He referred to problems which had arisen in the 1860s when a railway had been put in to join to Furness, work on which he suggested had been carried out on the cheap.  The biggest issue, he felt, was with regard to the bridges, responsibility for which, he believed, should have been passed on to British Rail and not to this Council.  He stressed the fact, though, that the promenade at Grange still looked good and expressed support for the proposal, adding that he also felt that Westmorland & Furness would do the same.

 

Councillor Hanlon suggested that if work on the playground commenced before February, then this would not incur the need for another planning application.  The Chair explained that the planning permission was simply for the Lido and not the playground and the Acting Operational Lead for Assets and Commercial Services informed Council that the planning permission for the promenade expired four months later.

 

Councillor Tom Harvey shared many Members’ thoughts.  He pointed out, however, that only 1% of the people shown in photos at the lido were actually in the pool, and felt this great tourist attraction to be slightly overstated.  This facility, he suggested, was on the wrong side of the rail tracks and was not easy to access.  He shared strong reservations raised regarding the tender process and timescales and was concerned as regards what would happen to the site as it moved to the new authority.  He also expressed concern on the use of CIL money which, he pointed out, was a charge applied to new developments to help pay for new infrastructure.  He felt that there was a tenuous link in this regard.

 

Councillor Brook informed Members that he was aware that there were contractors who had indicated that they were keen to submit tenders to carry out the work.

 

Councillor Ashcroft who had seconded the proposal, taking a District and new Authority-wide view, stressed that the Council had to spend £2.4 million which would deliver a slightly improved version of what existed.  This, he said, made sense, by investing and turning a liability into an asset.  He referred to the impacts of the pandemic, the war in Europe and increases in the costs of materials, however, pointed out that the Council was close to delivering a plan.  Councillor Ashcroft further referred to projects of this type assisting in attracting a young professional workforce to the area.  He also expressed confidence in the Save Grange Lido group which, he believed, had the ability and commitment to recreating a lido an pool and pointed out that Phase 1 would unlock opportunities for future funding.  This project would see a return economically both in Grange and beyond.

 

It was subsequently unanimously

 

RESOLVED – That approval be given for the additional funding of £1,793,800 to be included in the Capital Programme 2022/23 for the purposes of undertaking the full scheme to repair and refurbish the Lido and Promenade in Grange-over-Sands.

 

Report author: Ruth Leahy

Publication date: 12/01/2023

Date of decision: 01/11/2022

Decided at meeting: 01/11/2022 - Council

Accompanying Documents: