A Grade II listed art Deco swimming pool in Newport, South Wales, which was damaged by two fires last year, has been sold for £76,000 at auction.
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. It has been reported the buyer is a local man who wants to turn the building into a community centre.
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.
The building went under the hammer at the Kings Hotel on Thursday night and auctioneers Newland Rennie
Wilkins had estimated the half-acre site, which includes the former swimming baths and a three-bedroom house, would fetch more than £100,000.
Its listed status means the purchaser is unable to change the building’s front facade and the internal foyer which boasts period design features.
Newport Council, which did own Maindee pool, said the auction was the “best course of action” to prevent the building deteriorating further.
But Liberal Democrat councillor in the area Jeff Evans had claimed there was inadequate public consultation over the future use of the building.
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.”
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, went to the auction and asked the buyer what his plans were in the pool.
“He said he may try to turn it into a multi-cultural centre for the community,” said Mr Dally.
“As long as it is being used.”
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 pool 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)