Art deco pool goes under hammer – BBC (2008)




Maindee Pools

A Grade II listed art Deco swimming pool in Newport, south Wales, which was damaged by two fires last year, will be up for auction later.

Maindee pool on Victoria Avenue was closed in December 2005 when a new swimming pool was opened in Spytty.

There had been calls for the building, which was built in 1938, to be brought back into public use.

Newport Council said the auction was the “best course of action” to prevent the building deteriorating further.

But a councillor in the area claimed there was inadequate public consultation over the future use of the building.

The pool was designed by Newport borough architect CF Ward and was built just before the outbreak of World War II.

But it was closed by the council after a survey found £3.5m would be needed to extend its life by 15 to 20 years.

Even with this investment, the pool would not have had car parking or disabled facilities needed for 21st Century standards, said the council.

The building will go under the hammer at the Kings Hotel and auctioneers Newland Rennie Wilkins estimate the half-acre site, which includes the former swimming baths and a three-bedroom house, will fetch more than £100,000.

Its listed status means any potential purchaser would be unable to change the building’s front facade and the internal foyer which boasts period design features.

Liberal Democrat councillor for the area Jeff Evans said a feasibility study had not been completed before the decision to sell the site was taken in January.

“It appears this decision has been rushed,” he said.

“The whole point of the feasibility report was to explore potential options for the building and to take account of the constraints of the site. ”

A council spokesman said it had examined a number of possible uses for the site and had met with the local community to discuss their ideas but “no viable option” for the building was agreed upon.

“A draft feasibility study included a number of suggestions for future uses ranging from community-focused uses to various suggested commercial uses,” he said.

“The best course of action appeared to be the sale of the property by auction so that it can be brought back into use as soon as possible.

“We want to ensure that the building doesn’t deteriorate further and, if it is sold, it will be sold subject to its listed status.

“We aim to work with local people to ensure that the building realises its full potential within the community.”

The spokesman added that the pool in Spytty was well-served by public transport and the proposed redevelopment of Rodney Parade would provide more leisure facilities for the area.

Christopher Dally, who lives four doors down from the pool, said he would be going to the auction so that he could question the buyer about their intentions for the building.

“I don’t think councils really care about these buildings,” he said.

“There is so much history there.”

Sarah Hiscocks, a barmaid from the George Inn which is situated next door to the pool, said it would have been better for the community if the building had been re-vamped.

“There’s nowhere around here for single parents to go swimming and Spytty is not easy to get to,” she said.

“There’s also no parking whatsoever around here – it’s all for residents.

“I’m not sure what they could use it for. There have been so many rumours.”

Article is Copyright 2008 BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk)




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