Historic Saltdean Lido is in a worse state of repair than originally feared – and will cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to bring back into use.

The Grade II* listed lido has been shut all summer after Brighton and Hove City Council seized back control of the seafront site.

To ensure it meets basic health and safety requirements, the local authority is due to agree the spending of £130,000 for urgent work.

However, this does not include the cost of repairing the art deco building, which in July 2011 was estimated at about £260,000.

Local authority bosses admitted they were still not sure who would take over the running of the 1930s attraction.

Geoffrey Bowden, chairman of the economic development committee, said: “We have inherited a building in a worse state than we or anyone else anticipated.

“Like so many residents, both locally and across the city, we dearly want the lido returned to a good condition and opened to the public.

“The debate is about how that happens, not whether it should happen.”

The council took full control of the building from Dennis Audley, the holder of a 125-year lease, on June 6. Since then the majority of the building has been closed to the public.

Money for the urgent repairs, which include insurance costs, fire risk assessments, asbestos removal and upgrading utilities, are expected to be approved at a town hall meeting on Thursday, September 20.

Future options

Some of the funding for the extra repairs could come from the £335,000 Section 106 planning contributions made by the developers of the Ocean Hotel scheme.

Longer term, the council is considering three options – running the lido in-house, seeking a not-for-profit external operator, or handing it to a commercial firm. A number of informal meetings will be held in the coming weeks with potential operators.

However, the council reminded interested parties there was a need to balance the rights of third parties, such as the Saltdean Community Association, who are sub-tenants of the site, and White Rooms Beauty Therapy Rooms.

Rebecca Crook, of the Save Saltdean Lido campaign group, said it was ready to take over the running of the building.

She said: “We have developed a strong and robust business plan and have a clear and sustainable vision of how the pool, art deco building and external grounds can be restored to become an exciting and vibrant destination for the people of Brighton and Hove.”

But Coun Bowden said: “Some people are suggesting simplistic solutions that ignore the law and rights and obligations of third parties. The council cannot simply hand the keys over to an interested party.”

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