Ripon Civic Society is urging Harrogate Borough Council not to rush the sale of Ripon’s Spa Baths.
The society believes serious consideration should be given to using the grade II listed building to increase health provision.
RCS chair Christopher Hughes told the Stray Ferret:
“Ripon Civic Society urges that disposal of Ripon Spa Baths must not happen without transparent evidence that its potential contribution to health provision in our growing city and wider value to the community have been thoroughly addressed.”
The Ripon Neighbourhood Plan identified the baths as an important and accessible location for Ripon’s NHS facilities.
It set out how it could enhance health facilities for the city in coordination with the nearby Ripon Community Hospital and general practices.
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The plan, which involved input from HBC, Ripon City Council, RCS and other partners, states:
“The Spa Quarter provides the largest area of protected open space for the city centre, the enhancement of which through integration of currently separated Spa Park and Spa Gardens, (it) is significant for the city centre’s atmosphere and amenity.”
Mr Hughes said RCS was surprised to learn that Harrogate Borough Council is selling the Spa Baths:
“What is important is that the Ripon Neighbourhood Plan acknowledges the eventual disposal of the Baths if and when they should become redundant. They are a principal part of the Spa Quarter and part of the big picture for Ripon city centre.”
The society believes the new Ripon Renewal project provides an immediate opportunity to explore how the Spa Baths can best contribute to the city’s regeneration.
A Harrogate Borough Council spokesman said:
“Ripon Spa Baths has served the community well over the years and is now being replaced by a modern, state-of-the-art pool at Ripon Leisure Centre, following significant investment by the borough council.
“This new six-lane 25-metre pool will offer 70 per cent more water space, extensive changing facilities, bicycle and car parking and complements the extensively improved leisure centre.
“Once the project is complete, it will provide much needed state-of-the-art facilities that will encourage a healthier and more active lifestyle for our residents, and provide one of the most modern leisure facilities in the region.
“The future sale, and redevelopment of the listed building, would allow this local asset to be redeveloped (subject to planning approval), retain key features and remain as a city landmark.”