Former Sutton Baths could be turned into new heritage centre

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A DECISION on the future of the Sutton Baths complex has been put back so that plans to turn the historic building into a heritage centre can be examined further.

A petition was submitted to Ashfield District Council ahead of Thursday’s full council meeting, requesting that councillors accept the Asset Transfer proposal for the Baths and Brook Street Hall so that ‘future generations can use and enjoy the building as a community venture’.

Nottinghamshire County councillor Michelle Gent addressed the meeting, telling the district council that the plans would give ‘pride’ back to the area and appealed for a decision on its possible demolition to be put back.

“This is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss,” she said.

Coun Gent added that ‘high level’ talks with the county council about making the project a reality are taking place.

Residents who have put together the ‘Freshfields Project’ for the historic complex hope to convert the empty buildings into a community, heritage and education hub.

District councillor Steve Carroll, portfolio holder for regeneration, culture and housing, said that in light of the group’s proposals and work so far, it would be ‘wise’ to delay the decision on the Baths for three months.

He proposed - and it was agreed - that the council meets with the group in February, prior to the Cabinet discussing the issue in March.

Sutton North ward councillor Jason Zadrozny said that a heritage centre could be an ‘incredibly valuable community asset’.

Selston ward councillor Gail Turner said: “We feel this very exciting project could be one of the things that opens Ashfield up for business.”

The group’s plans include aspects that would boost education and tourism by exploring Ashfield’s coal mining and textile manufacturing past.

The Baths complex - which has been vacant for three years following the opening of Lammas Leisure Centre - has been plagued by anti-social behaviour and crime.