IT was the end of an era yesterday as work to demolish the historic Sutton Baths buildings finally got underway.
A fortnight ago, members of Ashfield District Council’s planning committee granted permission for the derelict pools building and Brook Street Hall to be pulled down so that a new social housing complex for the over-60s could be built on the site.
The development includes 22 apartments and three bungalows, along with a community room, garden and off street parking.
As the first bricks were taken down yesterday, Coun Steve Carroll, who is responsible for housing at the council, said that he was ‘excited’ that work had finally begun.
“It’s the culmination of two years’ of hard work by members and officers,” he said.
“We’re going to put quality housing in the area and it’s going to look a lot better.
“It is regenerating the town centre as well.
“Older people will have all the facilities around them.”
His comments were echoed by Kirkby councillor Cheryl Butler, who also watched the demolition begin.
She said: “It’s great that it’s started.
“We want big things for Ashfield. We are building the first social housing since 1984.”
The demolition work is being carried out by Birmingham-based City Demolition.
Freddie Jones, from the firm, said that workers would be taking the historic and much-loved facade down piece by piece.
He added: “They will be numbered for reuse.”
The painstaking demolition process is expected to be completed by July and work on the new apartments is due to start straight after that.
It is anticipated that the new complex will be completed by early next year.
Last week, Coun Carroll welcomed the planning committee’s decision to build new housing on the site, which has become an eyesore since the pool closed in 2008 to make way for the Lammas Leisure Centre.
He said that there was need for smaller homes in the district - and that this project marked the beginning of a 30-year programme to build more council housing by making use of council-owned land and derelict sites. In addition, the community room is designed to be used by all members of the public and not just residents at the complex.