Residents of Crewe have welcomed council’s decision to approve the long-awaited regeneration of the town’s iconic swimming pools. The transformation of the now derelict building on Flag Lane was recently approved by Cheshire East Council.
The plans, led by Always Ahead Charity, will see the site transformed into a new community centre. It will include heritage galleries, shops, a community grocery club, a children’s center, boardrooms, a restaurant, a café, terraces, spaces for rent, offices, spaces for young people and a multi-purpose room for conferences, presentations, movie nights, exhibition spaces. and gigs.
The project has long received broad support in the city and would finally see the much-loved Art Deco building returned to service. It has become derelict and has been subject to multiple acts of vandalism since the thermal baths closed in 2016.
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The charity Always Ahead posted on the Flag Lane Baths Facebook page: “It has been a huge day for everyone involved in our amazing project as we have achieved unanimous acceptance of our planning application for the development of Flag Lane Baths.
“The hard work begins now as we begin our transformation of Crewe’s iconic landmark.”
The development received support from across the political spectrum. Dr Kieran Mullan, MP for Crewe and Nantwich, said following his decision: ‘It’s great to see this project moving forward with funding from the Government’s Crewe Town Deal as part of the upgrade. level.”
A statement from Crewe West Labor Councilors Connor Naismith and Marilyn Houston said: “Labour Councilors Naismith and (Jill) Rhodes spoke in favor of the bid, and it was carried unanimously. This was a key campaign pledge in Councilor Naismith’s election campaign in May 2021, so it’s fantastic to see such huge progress.
“Thank you once again to the Reverend David Edwards and everyone involved with the Always Ahead charity for their ambition and tireless work to get this project off the ground. We now hope to see work begin on site as soon as possible, so that The building can be made available to the community again as soon as possible.”
And townspeople were broadly supportive of the decision to approve the plans. Many of them praised the work of the charity Always Ahead in bringing an old building
Responding to the news on Facebook, Diane Yates commented: “Fantastic news, thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this happen, it will be amazing for the Crewe community.”
Berenice Astbury said: ‘Excellent news and very hard earned, well done to everyone who campaigned to save this wonderful Art Deco building for the people of Crewe.
And Yvette Leclerc said: “This is great news, it’s time the building was put to good use.”
Some people were disappointed that he didn’t keep his old pool goal. Andrew Chandler said: “Good to see some use, but it could all have been taken care of while still swimming. A little myopic but hey ho.”
Susan Harrop said: “No, this building was meant to be a glorious swimming pool.”
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
A statement submitted with the now approved application reads: “The Community Center proposal will contribute to the quality of local community support and seek to act as a catalyst for social enterprise in the area. The proposal aims to use a derelict, vacant building into a functional building for residents of Crewe.
“The proposal is intended 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.”
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