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11th February 2008
The future of the Spa Baths is to be discussed at a public meeting hosted by Ripon Civic Society at Thorpe Prebend House, High St Agnesgate, at 7.00 pm on Thursday 21 February.

Under Harrogate Borough Councilís proposals the site is to be sold for housing, with the proceeds going towards the costs of a new pool elsewhere in Ripon. Along with many of Riponís citizens, the Civic Society believes that the Spa Baths building must be preserved, with public access to the fine interiors, and that a more imaginative use should be found.

Prompt action by the Society, which e-mailed all Harrogate Council Cabinet Members before a meeting at which they had planned to take a final decision on the site, resulted in a decision being deferred. The Council then promised a consultation, but, while it has prepared a small exhibition on the proposed new pool, nothing has been forthcoming about the current building, all of which is listed.

Cllr Kenn Hart has called a meeting for 16 February to discuss the new pool. The Civic Societyís meeting on 21 February is specifically on the subject of the Spa Baths building. The Society is keen to have practical and feasible ideas put forward for the building that might attract funding. We should particularly welcome proposals for sources of funding. Several suggestions have already been put forward for the use of the Baths; the Society suggested last month that it would make an ideal cinema, and would be very happy to see one incorporated in an all-purpose arts performance space. There has also been a suggestion that the building might become part of the adjacent hospital.

David Winpenny, Co-Chairman of Ripon Civic Society, who will chair the meeting, says, ĎThe Spa Baths are an important public asset to the city, and the only buildings we have of its date and style. To lose public use would be scandalous. We hope that people will come to the meeting with positive ideas for the future so that we can offer to Harrogate Council the vision that has been missing in their proposals so far.í

Neil Grandson has set up a website called 'Save our Spa' site that has more information and photographs

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