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Charlton Lido cock-up cost Greenwich Council £125,000

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A blunder by Greenwich Council means it’s had to pay £125,000 to buy back the lease to Charlton Lido after the original scheme to revamp the open-air pool collapsed, it has emerged.

Contractors are now on site working to have the Hornfair Park lido back in business for the summer after an earlier plan to turn it into a diving centre fell through due to lack of finance.

The council had given away the lease to Open Waters Investments, which had claimed it would spend £10m on revamping the lido. But Open Waters could not raise the money, and Greenwich Leisure Limited took over the lease in March 2011.

However, it emerged at a scrutiny meeting last week that Greenwich Council has had to give GLL £125,000 to buy back the lease it gave away for free.

The story is reported by Greenwich Conservatives, and this website has independently established that it is accurate.

It’s the latest twist in a sorry tale of blunders over the lido, which last opened to the public in 2008. It closed in 2009 to enable the deal with Open Waters to be signed, but work never got under way until GLL’s contractors appeared this January.

The lido is due to reopen for swimming in July, with the full revamp to be finished in 2013, including a dance studio. Greenwich Council wants to turn dilapidated Hornfair Park into a “multi-sports hub”, with a successful BMX track opening there last summer.

Update 8.30pm: GLL managing director Mark Sesnan disputes this version of events. He says: “GLL purchased the Lido site in early 2011 of our own volition. We paid £175,000 for it and this was written off in our accounts last year.

“We then approached the Council with a £3,000,000 two stage plan to refurbish it, make it a proper 50m pool and to heat the water. Phase One of the plan will see the 50m pool open from July – September this summer, Phase Two will see the new changing rooms, reception, gym and cafeteria and will open for April 2013.

“The £3,000,000 is being funded by £2,000,000 which GLL is financing and a further £1,000,000 from Lottery, Grants, the Council and other sources.”

He says the cash was paid from GLL’s own funds to Open Waters Ltd.

Greenwich Conservative leader Spencer Drury, who sparked last week’s meeting by calling the payment in, stands by the story, saying “the figures supplied to Councillors at the call-in were £120-125,000 for the lease (although exactly when this was paid we were not told)”.

Written by Darryl

30 April, 2012 at 7:30 am

4 Responses

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  1. Greenwhich council has closed down so many schemes that used to help the elederly and now we see that they wasted £125,000 of our cash…. they should sack the people responsible for such a blunder! How are they now going to finance this project and where is the cash suddenly going to apper from? whta will they cut for this project? RS

    ramesh sharma

    30 April, 2012 at 9:24 am

  2. Since it’s pointless having a rant about cock-ups, incompetence etc, just one question.

    Why do we have to pay 125k to GLL for a lease that was given to anoither company on the understanding they would be developing the site?

    Chris

    30 April, 2012 at 10:33 am

  3. GLL says it paid £175,000 for the Lido in early 2011 and the above is inaccurate – but can’t comment on what was said in the meeting. I’ll post its side of the story tonight as I can’t get to the site during today.

    Darryl

    30 April, 2012 at 11:34 am

  4. Why didn’t Open Waters just hand back the lease?

    East Greenwich1

    30 April, 2012 at 2:56 pm


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