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Lido restoration provide first job for Beard’s Southampton office

26 Jun Beard has started work on the restoration of Portsmouth’s Hilsea Lido.

Hilsea lido dates back to 1935
Hilsea lido dates back to 1935

Hilsea Lido is being restored, with new pipework being put in, as part of Portsmouth City Council’s £20m ‘levelling up’ funding from central government.

Beard was appointed main contractor for the job shortly after opening an office for the south coast region, near Southampton.

Mace is providing the council with project and programme management services.

The project is expected to be complete by spring 2025, with the lido open to the public next summer in time for its 90th anniversary celebrations.

Beard is starting the work with the removal of some of the fountain parts at the west end of the site as pipework under the fountain needs to be taken out. Portsmouth-based stonemason Darren Somerville is creating a replica of the fountain, which will be restored in the middle of the site when the project is complete. As well as project management services, Mace also leads the design guardian team, ensuring all design aligns with the client’s vision.

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The spectator stand to the north of the site has been declared unsafe so this will be demolished. Other work includes clearing away the old pool equipment, which will be replaced with a modern filtration system. The pool will also be drained, ready for work to stabilise the base and restore the original lagoons that had been removed.

Once the initial phase of the work is complete, Beard will move into the build stage where new pipework will be installed in deep trenches. This part of the project will involve installing a new pool inside the existing pool, with a significant amount of dowels drilled in the base of the old pool beforehand, to prevent water leaking and the new pool lifting. Beard will also build new modular changing units.

Portsmouth City Council chief executive Natalie Brahma-Pearl said: "Hilsea Lido is a much-loved community asset. We are excited to be working with Beard on restoring the pool and providing modern facilities for swimmers at the site, meaning it can be enjoyed by local people and visitors alike in time for the 90th anniversary of the lido."

Beard director Pat Hughes, head of its Southampton office, said: “Beard is hugely honoured to be chosen to complete this wonderful restoration project which will be the first to be run out of our new Southampton office. It is a fantastic way to mark the opening of the office and will allow us to showcase more than a century of skills and experience in delivering exceptional builds. This includes our work on outdoor public swimming venues in the UK.

“We look forward to working with Portsmouth City Council and all parties to deliver the exciting vision for this iconic attraction.”

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