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Ripon Civic Society

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25th January 2008
Ripon Civic Society has written to all Ripon City Councillors and to members of Harrogate Borough Council about the future of the city’s Spa Baths, urging them to think very carefully about the future use of this listed building if they decide to build a much-needed new pool elsewhere – and to consider the merits of using it to house a cinema.

The Civic Society is particularly concerned that there are proposals to demolish or partially demolish the baths and to use the site for residential use. The Society is especially aware of the threat to the ornate former Pump Room, now the foyer of the baths, which is brimming with intricate architectural detail and amazing decoration. If this part of the building were left standing but converted to housing, this would no longer be accessible by the public.

It would, however, make an ideal entry to a cinema. The size of the site would seem to be ideal for a cinema; it is near to centre of the city and the new car park west of the market place will be close by.

David Winpenny, Co-Chairman of Ripon Civic Society, says, ‘The Spa Baths building is important to the city – and to lose any of it to housing would be a betrayal of the city’s visionaries of a century ago who raised the money to construct it as an asset for Ripon. The Society supports the need for better swimming facilities – but this should not be at the expense of the city’s built heritage. Conversion for use as a cinema, probably in conjunction with a commercial partner, would seem the ideal solution to preserving the best parts of the Baths and would add another much-needed facility for the city.’

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