Car park plan for Ashton baths dropped

A PLAN that would have seen Ashton-under-Lyne’s now former swimming pool demolished and the land used as a short-term car park has been dropped.

Tameside Council initially suggested employing the area, on Water Street, as a place where people can leave their vehicles as the clock ticked down to its closure.

However, a rethink has now seen that suggestion dropped, with the plan now to ‘capitalise’ the land as part of public realm work done in the town.

And The Correspondent understands any area that will be used as a car park is the one that is already at the site – until the building is demolished and the site ‘disposed of.’

The former Active site in Ashton-under-Lyne

A report to Tameside Council’s asset management panel, dated August 30 – days before the pool closed permanently after Active Tameside opted to shut three of the borough’s facilities, floated the  car park idea.

It stated: “In terms of mitigating the empty building cost liability post-surrender, it is proposed to demolish the building and utilise the cleared site in the short term as a pay and display car park.

“In the medium to long term, the site could be sold to contribute towards town regeneration.”

However, that has been ditched as the costs associated with keeping Ashton Baths open were revealed in October.

“The current rateable value is £100,000, which will represent an annual rates payable liability to the council of £51,200,” a later report said.

“The council will become liable for the payment of the business rates after expiry of the initial three months relief.

“In addition, there will be the costs of management, security and maintenance.

“A condition survey undertaken in 2021 which identified £610,000 of backlog maintenance was required and the building condition has significantly deteriorated since then.

“High level estimates for demolition have now been received, with an estimated cost of demolition of £964,000, but these costs can be capitalised and financed from a future capital receipt if demolition is considered to enhance the future value of the site.”

Members and users of Active Ashton told The Correspondent of their horror at the closure of the facility.

However, despite thousands letting their feelings known in a petition, the economic argument weighed heavier.

The report adds: “A petition with 7,000 signatures was lodged on August 22, requesting the council to consider keeping the Active Ashton Pool building open. Additionally, there have been numerous other similar correspondence seeking the same.

“Active Tameside’s proposal to close these facilities was of course disappointing for everyone, especially Active Tameside.

“However, there are a number of issues, which have to be taken into account when reviewing the building’s future.

“The Ashton leisure centre was constructed more than 50 years ago, it is highly inefficient, and with rising energy costs and inflation, was being run at a considerable financial loss to Active Tameside.

“The council is unable to support the petition received to keep Ashton Swimming Pool open as it has insufficient capital to repair and maintain in a safe condition and insufficient revenue to manage the day to day running costs.”

 

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