Brighton & Hove City Council have this evening (5th December) ruled to reject the Sea Lanes Brighton Ltd planning application for the transformation of the former Peter Pan site on Madeira Drive, for a 25 metre open air heated swimming pool and 39 business units.

The planning application, which was submitted in June, goes against the Council officers recommendations for approval. The proposed scheme aimed to regenerate a 20 years vacant site and provide much needed swimming pool facilities for Brighton.

The development was set to create over 70 new jobs for the local community and more than 20 local businesses had already registered their interest in the commercial space.

Joe McNulty Director at Sea Lanes Brighton Ltd said:

“We are shocked with the decision. It is disappointing that the people of Brighton and Hove will wake up tomorrow to the news that the dearth of swimming facilities in our city remains and that these exciting plans for a modern swimming pool conceived and designed in Brighton have been rejected.

“The scheme was misrepresented at Committee and a number of incorrect facts were used as the rationale for refusal.

“There was a lack of understanding for the context and history of development proposals. We were selected as the preferred leisure operator by Brighton & Hove City Council (site owner) with the pool being sited south of the Volks railway from the outset.

The extensive public consultation conducted by us found that over 90% of the 1362 members of the public surveyed supported the scheme this was not communicated in today’s Planning Committee. It is unfortunate that only 3 members of the Committee attended our Pre – Application presentation and telling that only one member of the Planning Committee took the time to visit the site yesterday and they voted in favour of our proposals.

“Another example given for refusal was that the pool was not for public use and was only for use by elite athletes. This is plainly wrong. In fact, a fully accessible and open pool for public use was one of the core criteria underlying this bid. Proposals also included a retractable boardwalk to provide full access into the sea, which did not feature, nor was it mentioned that we would provide a facility for schools and children to learn to swim and to improve sea safety. We have already engaged with schools in Brighton to involve them in the scheme.

“The Planning Committee departed from the County Ecologist’s support who stated that the overall ecology would not be compromised. We have spent extensive time working with the County Ecologist to ensure that the existing vegetated shingle on the beach was re-provided and increased in size, ensuring any ecological harm was mitigated and enhanced to the full satisfaction of the County Ecologist.

“The opportunity to build the national open water swimming centre in Brighton appears lost.”