Ripon developer plans community regeneration of Spa Baths


Last updated Jun 29, 2022
Robert Sterne at Spa Baths
Robert Sterne learnt to swim at Spa Baths and now has plans to refurbish the Grade II listed building.

Ripon-based investment and development company Sterne Properties is in the process of acquiring the city’s historic Spa Baths from Harrogate Borough Council for an undisclosed sum.

In an exclusive interview with the Stray Ferret, company director Robert Sterne, said:

“It is our intention to restore the Grade II listed building to its former glory, when it was the centrepiece of the city’s spa quarter.

“Turning the clock back to 1905, it started life as a leisure and hospitality attraction, designed exclusively for the richer members of society, but our proposed hospitality-based regeneration of the building will make it fit for the modern world and open to all.

“Through a painstaking and detailed refurbishment, working closely with architect Andrew Burningham of AB Architecture, the spa complex will be returned to its days of Edwardian elegance.”

Photo of Ripon's Spa Baths

Sterne Properties has ambitious plans to refurbish the Grade II listed building.

Ornate and classical features, originally designed to attract well-heeled Edwardians to take spa treatments, will be seen once more in their full splendour and will be accessible to the people of Ripon and visitors to the city.

With its expertise in developing buildings for the city’s leisure, hospitality and retail sectors – including Curzon Cinema, Claro Lounge and Halls of Ripon – Sterne Properties feels well-equipped to take on the challenge of Spa Baths’ renaissance.

Mr Sterne said:

“We have had success in returning redundant properties such as the former NatWest Bank building next to Ripon Town Hall and an empty furniture store on North Street, into destinations that add value to the city’s offer.

“At this stage, we are considering a number of different community-focused uses.

“The initial planning application that we have lodged with Harrogate Borough Council, in the run up to completion of our acquisition of the building, is for a careful ‘strip back’ which will reveal design features that have been either covered up or out of sight since the 1930s, when the spa was re-purposed to accommodate a public swimming pool. “

Mr Sterne added:

“Our thinking is guided by knowledge of Ripon’s people who, like myself, learnt to swim at Spa Baths and see it, with affection, as part of their own and the city’s heritage.

“We believe that by working alongside all interested parties, including the city council and civic society, we can, subject to all relevant planning permissions, deliver an enhanced community asset, with new features, such as a conservatory, that we can all enjoy and take pride in.”

Martin Sterne, who set up the family-run property business in 1990s, added:

“We aim to make our mark on our home city by investing in it and creating developments that leave a lasting legacy.”

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