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Making a splash at city pool; FIRST LOOK AT PS5M REVAMP OF LISTED BUILDING.

Byline: Katie Dickinson Reporter @KATIEJDICKINSON

A MULTI-MILLION pound plan to regenerate Newcastle City Pool and Turkish Baths has been unveiled.

Fusion Lifestyle, the charity behind the PS5m redevelopment, has revealed how the Grade II-listed building will look once the refurbishment is complete.

A series of new CGIs of the site were officially launched at an event to mark the start of a six-week public consultation.

Plans include restoration of the Turkish Baths, reprovision of some swimming facilities, the creation of a new health and fitness facility, improved access for disabled people and the a new cafe.

Graeme Dodd of Napper Architects said the design was about "balancing the best of the old with the best of the new".

"Fortunately the building itself hasn't suffered too badly and has been reasonably well maintained," he said.

"The majority of the changes aren't structural but we will be able to remove almost all of the unsightly additions made to the building since the 1920s.

"We'll be getting rid of the new tiles in the pool hall to get to the original tiling, and retaining the superb ceilings in both halls.

"It's an approach of sensitive conservation, as well as a general cleanup and repair job.

"In its final years the baths didn't provide the uplifting experience you might expect and we hope to provide that with fitness suites and contemporary changing facilities on both the first and ground floors."

The building was opened in 1928 but closed its doors in April 2013 as part of cost-cutting measures by Newcastle City Council.

It was successfully listed as an asset of community value following a campaign by regular baths user Cait Read, who said the plans were "very exciting".

"It's great to get to this point and we're very excited that the site is going to be even better than it was before," she said. "The re-opening can't come soon enough."

Fusion Lifestyle was granted a lease by Newcastle City Council to redevelop the site.

Also included in the lease is neighbouring Newcastle City Hall - one of the North East's best-loved music and entertainment venues - which will be managed by Newcastle Theatre Royal Trust.

Peter Kay, chief executive of Fusion Lifestyle, said: "We became aware of the venue through the Historic Halls Network and the campaign to save the baths.

"We were struck by what a fine building it is and what a shame it was to see it in a state of disrepair.

"The unveiling of these plans is a big step forward for us and we are keen to hear the public's views."

Leader of the city council Nick Forbes said: "When the council first faced up to austerity we said we would have to look again at how we provide culture and leisure services. The result was a question mark over the future of the City Hall and Turkish Baths.

"There was a real risk the venue could have been lost to the city forever or turned into a chain pub.

"I'm delighted that we have been able to work with the campaign group and Fusion to breathe new life into the building."

The visuals are part of a new public exhibition in the customer service area of Newcastle Civic Centre, which will run until June 9. The baths are expected to open to the public in spring 2018.


City Pool and Turkish baths to be restored and reopened in 2018 by leisure company Fushion
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 10, 2016
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