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Great business plan would be vital for Grange lido
6:00pm Thursday 10th October 2013 in Opinion
MOST Grange-over-Sands residents surveyed about the future of the town’s historic lido say they would like to see it brought back to life as a community asset - and, of these, a sizeable majority believe the best way of doing this is to recreate it as an open-air swimming venue.
Over the 61 years Grange lido remained opened, it was used by thousands of locals and visitors, many of whom are still alive and retain fond memories of spending their summer days swimming there.
But yearning for this aspect of Grange’s nostalgic past doesn’t mean it makes sense to try to recreate it. The lido enjoyed its heyday when the Kent Estuary flowed by the promenade at Grange.
When the river channel shifted towards Arnside and a lot of holidaymakers’ interest in the town waned it was inevitable the lido’s fortunes would also suffer. Since it closed in 1993, it has fallen into a sad state and certainly needs more than a little TLC.
But whether to faithfully restore it as a saltwater swimming pool is the answer is open to debate.
For a start, there’s a real question over the viability of creating another swimming venue in Grange when lack of local support led to the closure of Berner’s Pool, its indoor replacement, after just three years.
It could be argued that this debacle provides plenty of evidence that the town is not really bothered about having such a leisure facility.
But it could equally be argued that restoring the only lido in Cumbria - and one of the few remaining in the country - would put Grange back on the tourist map and for that reason alone it is worth the effort.
The fact that the lido and associated buildings are now Grade II listed means something has to be done to preserve them, so why not a faithful restoration?
However, common sense suggests that if it is to happen someone is going to have to come up with an extremely ingenious and sustainable business plan because it is vital that a restored lido should not be subsidised by South Lakeland council tax payers.
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