REDEVELOPMENT of the landmark Afan Lido sports complex has taken a big step forward.
Work to demolish the existing building has started following the removal of asbestos from the site on Aberavon seafront. The replacement – including a six-lane, 25 metre pool, four-court sports hall, “fun” pool equipment and a learners’ pool – is due for completion in 2013.
Council leader Ali Thomas said: “I am delighted to see the work start to demolish the old Afan Lido.
“I would like to thank all the local members and the community for their patience and understanding to get to this point. I also thank our head of property and regeneration Gareth Nutt and his team for all their hard work.
“It has been a complicated process and a lot of hard, unseen work has been going on before we could get to this stage. I now look forward to the new Afan Lido making its mark on this famous seafront.”
A comprehensive public consultation has been undertaken and the views of a wide range of community groups and organisations have been taken into consideration during the initial design proposals. The consultation included an independent, in-depth analysis by the Sports Council for Wales.
Working with New Sandfields Aberavon, a bid is being prepared for European funding so that community facilities can be an important part of the new build which is designed to complement any future seafront developments. This will include a new library and community rooms.
Mark Turner (right), aged 44, from Cwmavon, said: “We used to go swimming at the Lido regularly and take the kids. We thought it was a real shame when it burnt down. It was upsetting because it was such a part of everyone’s lives.
“We’ve been going up to Cymmer Afan pool but it’s only small, whereas the Lido had everything, big slides and things for the kids. I hope they build something similar now, with plenty of activities.”
Diane Bromage added: “My daughter lives in Aberavon and has two small children, so I know they would get a lot of use out of a new centre. I know the beach is just over the road there, but people need something like this as well. I think it will get a lot of use.”