Developers set to scale down pool plans to ‘test the water’

The initial plans for the Sea Lanes development
The initial plans for the Sea Lanes development

Proposals for a 50-metre open-air swimming pool on Brighton’s seafront have been put on hold over the uncertainty surrounding the future of the Madeira Terraces.

A consortium of developers revealed their designs last year for the long-derelict Peter Pan site on Madeira Drive, with a 50m open-air, heated swimming pool, changing facilities, with cafes, restaurants and offices, yoga and exercise studios, therapy rooms and pop-up shops.

But because the future of the dilapidated Madeira Terraces hangs in the balance, the developers instead want use the site for a temporary 25m pool for a five-year term to test the water.

A report will go before Brighton and Hove City Council’s policy, resources and growth committee next Thursday, asking councillors to approve the new plans.

The report said if all goes well in the pool’s trial run, developers could be given the option of signing a 150-year lease on the site.

But it added: “The developers have indicated that funding for the permanent scheme has been hampered by the uncertainties over the future of Madeira Terrace.”

The arches at Madeira Drive were sealed off by the council in 2015 for safety reasons, and after a failed funding bid to the government to regenerate the area.

There is now a crowdfunding campaign to raise £432,000 to kick-start the renovation of three of the 151 arches, with the hope this could lead to further funding.

With just under two months to go, the campaign has raised £188,383, with more than 1,000 backers.

On the Sea Lanes trial run, the report to councillors said: “The experience and verified data achieved during this five-year period will enable the consortium to finesse the business model and provide the foundations on which to progress the permanent scheme.

“Creating a ‘destination’ is key to the success of the site and attracting anchor tenants with proven status is central to this. Alongside the constraints of

“This amendment to the agreement provides for welcomed activity on the site in the short term whilst providing assurance to balance uncertainties for the longer term.”

If approved by the policy, resources and growth committee, and subject to planning permission, the new trail pool could open by May 2018.

Council leader Warren Morgan said: "I'm delighted that open-air swimming is returning to Kemp Town seafront next summer for the first time in almost 40 years.

"It will add to the many other attractions including Yellowave volleyball and the Zip Wire, and will help our efforts to regenerate that entire stretch of seafront.

"The council, Visit Brighton and a dedicated team of local volunteers are working hard to restore the Madeira Terraces, so this is another welcome step to bringing Brighton back to it's best."