The re-developments of Brighton continue with the news of Sea Lanes being granted a five-year lease on the former Peter Pan playground site on Madeira Drive. Subject to planning, the heart of the development will be an outdoor 50m salt water heated swimming pool scheduled to open in November 2018. The pool will be open to people of all swimming abilities with special emphasis being put on those who want to get fit and those training for open water swimming events. Since the 2012 London Olympics, open water swimming has seen a 20% annual increase. They are hoping to contribute more to the city’s swimming opportunities which currently only reach 44% of the Government’s target. Joe McNulty from Copsemill Properties, the local developers behind the project, said “the swimming pool will benefit local schools and colleges and will allow children, parents and carers to take part in sea safety and lifeguard courses.”
The pool will be a welcome addition to the Eastern section of Brighton’s seafront, after much criticism for many years on how it has been neglected. Brighton Journal recently published a piece on the re-developments being planned across the city with a majority of them focusing on this stretch of shoreline. The locally driven project was designed to benefit the local economy and give residents in the area access to a state-of-the-art pool. The pool will also be surrounded by 10,000 sq ft of commercial space which will generate 70 new jobs and many opportunities for local businesses and residents. They hope to bring in businesses that support the growth of open-water swimming and will be encouraging leisure focused ventures to take the commercial space. McNulty said this will bring “a much needed and long-awaited rejuvenation to a much-loved area of Brighton seafront”.
Brighton & Hove City Council has awarded the developers with a five-year temporary contract with the promise that should it be successful, there is room for growth and the potential of a permanent pool. McNulty stated that “by using a kit of moveable and reusable parts, we are able to create a sustainable, robust and affordable solution while permanent plans are developed”. The project is being developed by Copsemill Properties who are working alongside Swimtrek and Swimmergy. The architects will be the exceptionally talented team at WE LIKE TODAY. Brighton-based WE LIKE TODAY are the same firm who are behind the hugely successful Boxpark in London and much-loved co-working space Platf9rm in Brighton. The design for the new development that they have come up with is based on the current architecture of Brighton with a cluster of beach-hut style structures and bright colours and patterns adorned to the sides of the buildings. The studio told design magazine Dezeen “Brighton’s history and development as a city is closely linked to the sea – it has the oldest sea swimming club in the world – but today there are no facilities to get changed, nowhere to leave your belongings while you’re in the water and this new project will remedy that”.
Chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s economic, tourism and development committee, Alan Robins, said of the new development “Madeira Drive is an important part of the city’s tourism calendar, drawing in thousands of visitors a year to events like the Veteran Car Run and Marathon”. The council have been pushed in recent years to develop this part of Brighton and this project has been seemingly welcomed with open arms by residents and businesses alike. The commercial space will opened up into cafes, restaurants, yoga and exercise studios, therapy rooms and conference facilities on the basis that the first five years meet the council, and communities, expectations. Speaking to Dezeen, the creative director of WE LIKE TODAY said “Brighton & Hove shares a special relativity with the sea, yet over recent decades, there has been a disconnect between it and the local community…the idea for Sea Lanes was to build an active and immersive destination, and open up a dialogue with the sea and local community, the idea is very much for an active leisure destination”.
An aspiration of the new pool is to turn the city into a hub and national centre for open water swimming. The developers will be submitting a full planning application in the coming weeks and will hopefully get consent for the project by the end of Summer. Once the Madeira Terrace regeneration is underway there is hope to bring in small businesses to the surrounding area which will hopefully be reinforced by this new project.