All systems go for Grange Lido and Promenade

An artist's impression of the inside of the restored lido, with white figures walking past shrubs and plants

This news release was issued by South Lakeland District Council, one of the sovereign authorities of Westmorland and Furness Council.

Work is due to start soon on the much-anticipated Grange Lido and Promenade restoration.

Carlisle-based firm RH Irving Construction has been appointed as the main contractor and work is now scheduled to get fully under way towards the end of March and the beginning of April.

Councillor Jonathan Brook, Leader of the Council, said: “This is a highly-complex project, which has taken many years to develop. There have been many challenges along the way and so we are excited to begin the work to repair and reimagine this much-loved and iconic structure, while also rejuvenating the promenade.

"Doing nothing was never an option, as failing to act, would leave future administrations liable for even greater costs. I am pleased that the new Westmorland and Furness Council will be taking this project forward.

"I am delighted that a Cumbrian-based firm of the calibre of R H Irving Construction Ltd will be delivering this important work and look forward to seeing the project take shape over the coming months."

Mark Moodycliffe, managing director of R H Irving Construction, said: “As a Cumbrian-based company we are delighted and proud to have been appointed as main contractor for this important, prestigious and challenging project. We look forward to working in close partnership with the council, the local community and other stakeholders over the coming months and successfully delivering the works to the lido and promenade.”

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 is made up of £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 playpark on the promenade is scheduled to start in the late spring and be finished in the summer.

Councillor Robin Ashcroft, Portfolio Holder for Economy, Culture and Leisure, said: "This is immensely exciting for Grange, South Lakeland, Westmorland & Furness, Morecambe Bay and further much further afield. We look forward to seeing R H Irving Construction start work and make our dream of making the Lido a useable space and revitalising the prom a reality.

"This work will go a long way in engendering an enhanced sense of place both for residents and visitors, but it will go far beyond being a local amenity or visitor attraction, to 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."

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

Janet Carter, chair of Save Grange Lido, said: "This is fantastic news. It’s been 30 years since this very special place was open to the public and we look forward to seeing the site transformed and brought back into use. Following on from the £35,000 Shared Prosperity Fund grant awarded to SGL earlier this year, we are excited to continue our partnership with SLDC and Westmorland & Furness Council to realise the dream of swimming once again in this unique mushroom shaped pool. Our vision would see Grange Lido become an inclusive health and wellness facility that benefits the whole community with a proud nod to its rich heritage and once again shine as the pearl of Morecambe Bay."

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 a new child’s 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.