'Rival' Brighton open air swimming pool plan sparks row

Saltdean Lido Image copyright Saltdean Lido
Image caption The 1930s Saltdean Lido will open next year, following restoration

Brighton council has been accused of a lack of joined-up thinking after plans were put forward for a £3m Olympic-sized open air pool near Saltdean Lido.

The plans are for a derelict council-owned site on Madeira Drive.

The council said the pool would provide excellence and broad appeal and was "very different" from Saltdean Lido.

Simon Kirby MP and Saltdean Lido criticised plans for two pools within a 3.9-mile (6.2km) radius. The developers said there could not be too many pools.

Mr Kirby, Brighton Kemptown MP, said: "There is only a certain demand, and I'm not sure having two outdoor pools within three miles of each other is a very sensible way forward."

Rebecca Crook, from the 1930s Saltdean Lido which will open next year following restoration, said: "Two outdoor swimming pools within a four-mile radius is most unusual and certainly will impact on both businesses."

She added: "The bigger point is the lack of joined-up thinking."

'Emphasis on training'

Rod Hart, from Swimmergy, one of three companies behind the plans, said the new pool and Saltdean Lido were "entirely different".

He said the 50m pool would be more for training than general swimming, although it was hoped it would attract everyone.

Developers hoped to attract triathletes and swimming squads, teams and coaches from around the world, he added.

The council said the pool would become a hub for swimming and sport-related business, be marketed for triathlons, and provide escorted sea swims, lifeguard training and leisure swimming.

Brighton councillor Geoffrey Bowden, economic development and culture committee chairman, said Saltdean Lido was "a very different facility" with exciting plans and a unique offering.

His committee will decide whether to give landlord's consent for the planned new pool on Thursday, and any planning process will include full consultation, he added.

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