UPDATE: Brighton and Hove City Council has agreed to take back control of an “at-risk” listed lido.

Thousands of people have accused the leaseholder of the Grade II* listed Saltdean Lido, Dennis Audley, of allowing it to become rundown in recent years.

Following months of discussions, owner Brighton and Hove City Council this afternoon agreed in principle to accept Mr Audley’s offer to vacate the property immediately.

An undisclosed financial settlement will be paid by the local authority to compensate for the remaining years of the lease.

A special committee meeting is now in private session to thrash out the financial and legal aspects of the deal.

Geoffrey Bowden, the council’s economic development and culture committee chairman, said before the meeting: “I was determined to find a solution to this longstanding issue and am very pleased that we have.

“It was a very complicated matter, which has been resolved through the dogged determination of dedicated officers working carefully within the constraints of the law and recognising the rights of all sides at all times. Local residents have demonstrated the depth of affection there is for this iconic 1930s building.

“Now that the building is about to be handed back to the council, we will be working with the community to find the best way to ensure that this beautiful seaside Lido can be maintained and kept accessible for local people.”

The decision has been made at a special policy and resources committee which started this afternoon in Hove Town Hall at 3pm.

Mr Audley, who took over the 125-year lease in 1999 to run the site, previously told The Argus he had lost about £500,000 in the venture and was keen to recover that sum.

Rebecca Crook, of the Save Saltdean Lido Campaign, which was set up in protest against Mr Audley’s running of the site, said: “We wait with bated breath but if this is real and the council are getting the lease back, we've done the first part of our job.”

A council spokesman said, if agreed, the lido will not be immediately open due to legal agreements.

However the local authority did say it is exploring possible temporary arrangements to ensure access is available as soon as possible.

It added the library and community centre on the site will not be affected.

In the longer term the council is likely to put the facility out to tender, seeking either a new lessee with obligations to ensure the building and pool are well maintained and regularly opened, or a contractor prepared to provide services to an agreed specification. A council spokesman said the change is still subject to legal agreement between the two parties.