AMBITIOUS plans to breathe new life into Chester’s Victorian City Baths have received political backing.
As revealed in the Leader yesterday, a £4 million regeneration scheme at the baths will go before Cheshire West and Chester Council’s executive board next Wednesday.
If approved, modernisation plans for the historic city baths would turn the listed Union Street building into a state-of-the-art swimming and leisure centre.
Chester MP Stephen Mosley is throwing his weight behind the plan, believing it will carry great benefits to the city.
He said: “This is great news for Chester and I do hope these plans get the go-ahead.
“Investing in Chester’s heritage is key to our local economy and I welcome the council’s proposals to refurbish our historic city baths.”
If the ‘priority one’ scheme is approved, it will include a new gymnasium, refurbished swimming pools and changing rooms.
There will also be restoration work on the listed building’s exterior and roof.
Mr Mosley also expressed his support for the council’s commitment to work with the community groups who currently use the Victorian baths.
He visited Chester Swimming Club, which uses the facility, last year.
Cllr Stuart Parker, executive member for culture and recreation, said: “A fully refurbished baths, plus gymnasium, will provide a first class addition to Chester’s leisure facilities and prolong the life of one of Chester’s famous listed Sir John Douglas buildings.”
He said the modernisation project was part of the council’s £29 million investment in health and leisure facilities, including the proposed sports village in Ellesmere Port and the Memorial Court Lifestyle Centre in Northwich.
The city baths opened in 1901, replacing Chester’s floating baths.
When the Union Street building opened, the baths boasted two pools, a vapour bath and a slipper bath where those without hot and cold running water could bathe.
The baths are looked after today by Chester Swimming Association, and are used by Chester Swimming Club and schools.