The vision for the future of Crewe’s iconic but currently derelict pools has been unveiled after new images were made public.
The charity Always Ahead submitted a planning application proposing to regenerate the vacant Art Deco building on Flag Lane towards the end of last year.
The old baths, which closed in 2016, would be transformed into a “community center for the city”, with a multi-purpose room, while the exterior would be transformed into a water feature and community park.
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And now, new images have been added to the planning app that show what the site might look like once development is complete.
A statement submitted with the plans read: “The Art Deco building is an integral part of Crewe’s history, with many fond memories at the site since it opened in November 1937.
“The Baths enjoyed a lavish and grand inauguration. The Mayor, Alderman F. Bott, said in his opening address that the day “marked the fulfillment of a long and ardent desire on the part of society to give the greatest opportunity to develop a healthy, happy and manly people”. It was a source of great civic pride until it closed in 2016.
“Since then, the building has fallen into a terrible state of disrepair, falling victim to vandalism and anti-social behavior, which has caused significant frustration among the local community and the many people who have been part of its history. Currently, the site is vacant with all windows, doors and skylights closed to protect the baths from vandalism.
“While touring the site with the Reverend David Edwards (executive director of the charity Always Ahead), pedestrians and local residents will learn very keenly about what is happening to develop the baths and when will the baths be open again.
“There is still a great deal of civic pride for the baths, and the proposed development seeks to breathe new life into the baths, while retaining its original features and character.
“The additions to the building have been carefully considered to sit alongside the existing, marking in time its proposed new destination for the Crewe community.
“The design team has investigated the building’s history and original Art Deco windows, and is keen to sensitively reproduce these details in a non-pastiche manner.”
According to the plans, what was the main pool could be used for multiple purposes, including a community cinema or stage shows.
The spaces around the former main pool room could be used for purposes such as a restaurant/café, offices, bar and conference rooms.
The proposed park next to the building would include a central water feature, gym facilities and pavilion, as well as improved accessibility and lighting to create “a destination landscape for the local community”.
The charity Always Ahead defined six main roles that the new community center would play in the city:
1. An offer of activities for young people
2. Space and services dedicated to the homeless
3. Services for the unemployed
4. Restoration and catering
5. A place of entertainment and a tourist attraction
6. A meeting place for local community groups
The statement continued: “The proposed community center will contribute to the quality of local community support and seek to act as a catalyst for social enterprise in the area.
“The proposal is to use a derelict and vacant building into a functional building for the residents of Crewe.
“The proposal aims to avoid any negative impact on the surrounding area and on neighboring properties. The bid is a carefully considered, high-quality program suited to its location and the requirements of the school.
“Overall, the design of the project takes into account the surrounding context, while incorporating features of nature to reinforce the purpose of the building.”
The plans are due to be discussed in committee in April and can be viewed by searching reference number 21/6400N on the Cheshire East Council website.