Demolition of Lido 'was right choice'
THE decision to demolish Port Talbot's Afan Lido has been described as the correct one, even with the benefit of hindsight.
Council bosses have admitted the old sports hall and parts of the main Lido building could have been salvaged after the fire of 2009.
But, they said, that would have left them with a mixture of new sections and others that were 50 years old, problematic and expensive.
Finance director Derek Davies answered a series of questions during a public meeting of the task and finish group of councillors looking into the Lido's replacement.
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This was set up after Neath Port Talbot and campaigners failed to reach agreement on key issues.
One of questions Mr Davies answered was the size of the insurance settlement, and why Neath Port Talbot only received £5.7 million.
Mr Davies explained: "It had an insurable value of £14 million but that would only have been paid if the entire place had been razed to the ground in the fire, which it was not."
He said the sports hall was not structurally damaged and so could have been retained.
Part of the main pool building could also have been salvaged, although the council and insurers disagreed as to how much.
"Eventually we came to a deal," said Mr Davies. "Was it the right figure? My view is, yes. It's more than I expected."
He said the council considered it better to demolish the entire complex and start again. Even with hindsight, he said, it was the correct decision.
"That building was the best part of 50 years old," said Mr Davies.
"It had significant running costs that we just couldn't afford. You're going to redo bits and pieces and join it up to a building that is the best part of 50 years old.
"I think it's better to build something more state of the art, cheaper to run and more energy efficient."