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New Slides For The Lido – Council Approves £500k Funding

Published on: 24 May, 2013
Updated on: 25 May, 2013
Illustration of the new slides to be installed at Guildford Lido. The three types of slide are from left to right: a twin lane switchback, a fast straight 'kamikaze' and the twisty 'anaconda' - Image by Hippo Leisure

Illustration of the new slides to be installed at Guildford Lido. The three types of slide are from left to right: a twin lane switchback, a fast straight ‘kamikaze’ and the twisty ‘anaconda’ – Image by Hippo Leisure

Three new slides are set to open at Guildford Lido this summer, as a result of planned investment from Guildford Borough Council and Freedom Leisure.

The council executive approved the £504,000 funding of the project at their meeting this evening (May 23). It is anticipated that the new water features will increase revenue at the Lido by nearly £85,000 per annum.

The investment, which also includes interactive panels and a toddler slide for the youngest Lido users in the paddling pool, will be returned to the council, with interest, over the 14 year contract life, through an increased management fee paid by Freedom Leisure, who operate the Lido for the council.

Cllr Jen Powell

Cllr Jen Powell

Cllr Jen Powell (Con, Clandon & Horsley), lead councillor for tourism was on record as saying: “Guildford Lido is a fantastic place to spend time this summer, and the new slides will offer even more to enjoy. As the Lido celebrates 80 years in business, this investment will help continue its success for years to come.”

But tonight she disappointed some of those present at the meeting by insisting that she was determined not to be the first to try out the new attraction.

Steve May, Freedom Leisure Area Manager had said earlier: “Freedom Leisure is delighted to be installing water slides at Guildford Lido in this, its 80th anniversary season. There were two slides in the pool in 1933 when the pool was opened for the first time, so in essence we are reinstating what was once there.

“We are confident that the slides will extend the appeal of this iconic Guildford attraction to a wider leisure audience, and will ensure the viability of the site for future generations.”

Cllr Phillip Hooper (Con, Holy Trinity) said he was a regular user of the Lido which he valued greatly as an amenity. He welcomed the decision to install the slides and was glad that the installation was being planned so as to allow the main pool to remain open.

It is expected that the slides should be open in time for the start of the school summer holidays in July.

Once installed, no additional charges will be made for users of the paddling pool and additional water features. But a small charge, expected to be in the region of £2 per person, will be made for use of the slides.

The Lido attracts an average of 42,000 visitors a year. Over recent years the lowest figure of 34,588 was in 2007-8 and the highest of 51, 679 in 2009-10. The figure for year 2012-13 was 39,970.

Council Leader Stephen Mansbridge said: “Guildford has a superb Lido. On hot days it already attracts many people and it needs to be a part of our overall tourism agenda.

“We will get tremendous value for money from this investment. It is from every aspect thoroughly good news.”

The decision to approve the funding was agreed unanimously by the council executive.

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Responses to New Slides For The Lido – Council Approves £500k Funding

  1. Paul Hart Reply

    September 7, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    These impressive slides, plus new interactive toys for toddlers, are now in use. This weekend (7th/8th Sept)enjoyment of the slides are included within the normal admission price. From Monday there will be an additional charge, to assist the operators in providing a return to the Council on this admirably far-sighted investment.

    Three quarters of the Lidos that existed in the 1930s have since been closed. Criticisms levelled at Guildford Lido in recent years were that there wasn’t enough to entertain children, and that catering arrangements (other than the vending machines) were unpredictable.

    The most successful Lidos (in my personal view) seem to be operated under Charitable Trust status. The experienced leisure management trust, Freedom Leisure, has in its second year of operation ensured more constant provision of catering, and (in partnership with Guildford Borough Council) provided something to entertain people of all ages (subject to height restrictions.)

    Since Guildford Borough Council had the wisdom to put the operation of the Lido into the hands of an established, not-for-profit leisure-management trust, the cost to the taxpayer of maintaining this “jewel in Guildford’s crown” has been DRAMATICALLY reduced.

    Sorry, I’m straying from my original point. The best way of going down the slides (I have been reliably informed) is flat on one’s back, and with a good “push off” at the start. As (I am told) one lands at speed in a trough of water nearly a foot deep, customers may wish to consider pinching one’s nose.

    Sincerely, Paul Hart

  2. Peter Bullen Reply

    September 8, 2013 at 9:05 am

    I trust the ‘additional charge’will not be added to the admission charge, or, if it is, it will not be added to the charge pensioners have to pay? I write as a very occasional Lido user who is well past the three score years and ten mark and is never likely to make use of the new slides!

  3. Peter Bullen Reply

    September 14, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    To answer my own question: the Lido told me that the additional charge of £2 will not be added to the pensioners’ concessionary entrance price.

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