The proposed site for the Lido beach pavilion development stands 0.8 miles west of Marine Court on the site of Sidney Little’s famous 1930’s bathing pool in West St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex. The project is aimed at regenerating the most westerly end of St Leonards seafront and is situated on the new south coast cycle route between Bexhill and Hastings.
Lido will function as a stylish beach resort with outdoor recreation, leisure and entertainment facilities directly on the beach. As a place of rest and recreation, the beach bar and restaurant will provide informal dining and bar facilities for up to 300 visitors. The pavilion will also offer use of changing and showering facilities to beach visitors and those keen to enjoy the non-motorised watersports the area has to offer. This area of the beach is already popular with local kite surfers and canoeists who gather here to enjoy the ideal conditions naturally available at this location. Watersports enthusiasts will be able to visit the beach and then enjoy the shower and changing facilities before relaxing on the terrace or visiting the restaurant. The resort will act as a resting place for cyclists exploring the coastal path from The Stade in Hastings to the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill and beyond to Cooden Beach, providing a destination to enjoy great local food and beverages while enjoying the south coast beach scene. The Lido beach pavilion development is inspired by similar existing beach pavilions in The Netherlands and Belgium that operate successfully in locations by the North Sea. Like its continental counterparts, Lido is designed to be adapted for a variety of uses throughout the calendar year.
THE DESIGN AND LAYOUT
Lido has been designed by making use of converted shipping containers to minimise extensive ground-works. Due to the design constraints of the location, and in order to achieve flexibility and longevity, the containers will be modified to create the various building structures as required. The containers are versatile in their design flexibility as well as being portable. These factors will enable fast set-up and break down times, most significantly having minimal impact on the existing site. The overall design and materials used to embellish the structures will be evocative of the original bathing pool, sun deck and entertainment venue. Wherever possible, recycled and sustainable materials will be used during the construction and running of the venue. The site will provide disabled access to over 90% of the site and will be designed in accordance with the current guidelines.
The Beach Horizon Bar will face directly onto the cycle path and provide refreshments to beach visitors and users of the south-facing sundeck. It will provide a sheltered viewing room where visitors can relax while enjoying the coastal scene and watching the watersports enthusiasts and cyclists. The Viewing Platform and Roof Terrace is evocative in form and location of the famous Sidney Little diving board tower. The tower and upper viewing platform will be built from a combination of containers and an upper “glass box” will provide superb panoramic views during the day and evening. The Restaurant and Bar in the main building will provide indoor seating and on the terrace for up to 300 visitors. The informal restaurant will house a full-service kitchen where fine locally-sourced foods will be prepared on site. The bar area will be a resting place to enjoy a beverage in relaxed, stylish surroundings. The Central Sun Terrace will provide a relaxed seating area for restaurant and bar visitors. The lowered central basin of 20x30 metres pays homage to Sidney Little’s original bathing pool. The perimeter of the terrace will be sheltered from the elements using removable acrylic windbreaks. The Beach Office is located separately from the main recreational complex to the west of the main venue, and will function as a public changing and showering facility with equipment lock-up services and retail venue. There will also be a secure facility for approximately 200 bicycles as well as bicycles available for hire. Other bike hire partners will be appointed to connect rental facilities in Bexhill and Cooden Beach to the west, and Hastings to the east. Traditional continental-style city bikes will be used for this purpose. Lido Gardens - the area immediately to the east of the main venue will be left predominantly as open grassland for various events and exhibitions operating throughout the year (farmers market, sculptural art installations etc). With a landscaped perimeter, this green open area will create a useful, yet visual backdrop to the venue.
SEASONAL ENTERTAINMENT AND LEISURE
Lido will be flexible and capable of adapting to suit the seasonal and visitor requirements of the town. During the summer months, the pavilion will be used for daytime outdoor leisure and recreation pursuits while enjoying the beachside location and spectacular views of the Sussex coastline. There will also be occasional evening and daytime events such as local festivals, theatre, film and beachside sports and for use as a low impact music arena. The Lido beach pavilion will be a year-round destination for the local community and visitors to the south coast to enjoy the excellent bar and restaurant facilities. In the winter months it is envisaged that Lido will appeal to the local community hosting winter fairs and other seasonal events. There is the potential for the central basin to be converted to accommodate an ice skating rink during the winter season, attracting visitors from the southeast and beyond.
Visitors will be actively encouraged to access the site by bicycle and the use of public transport links such as the local area bus service and the regional train networks to West St Leonards and St Leonards Warrior Square stations, bringing visitors from London and the southeast. There will be a dedicated car park for out of town visitors to enjoy pre-paid car parking for the day, and to enjoy the marine and leisure facilities on offer at the beach pavilion. Alternative transport links to connect the local seafront attractions are currently under discussion, such as a Big Lemon-style bio-diesel bus service used in the Brighton and Hove area.
The Lido beach pavilion development is a great opportunity for Hastings and St Leonards, and most importantly for the West St Leonards environs, which has not received much attention in recent years. It will act as a catalyst to kick-start the much needed regeneration that the area deserves. Lido will create jobs for local residents and training opportunities for students in the region. It will assist in broadening the appeal of the local area and will become an exciting destination for visitors and local residents, helping towards Hastings and St Leonards regaining its rightful position as the jewel in the necklace of southeast coastal towns.
Status: Under Construction
Location: Hastings, GB
My Role: Project Architect
Additional Credits: Iain Exley, Maciej Wierzbinski