A campaign group fighting to keep a historic spa in the public’s hands has been in ‘positive’ talks with Sheffield City Council about its future.
The Friends of Birley Spa are due to meet for the second time next week with council representatives to discuss the future of Birley Spa Bath House, a Grade II-listed Victorian spa in Hackenthorpe.
Present at the meeting will be residents from the area, MP Clive Betts and councillors Olivia Blake, cabinet member for finance and deputy leader of the council, and Jim Steinke, cabinet member for communities and safety.
Abby Beckett-Smith, leader of the Friends of Birley Spa, said: “The talks have been quite positive. At times it has been fraught and at the start there was trepidation as you can imagine but the atmosphere has changed quite a bit as we have gone on.
“The council are trying to give us more time and we are now waiting on a quote to see how much it will cost and will start fundraising again from then.”
The 176-year-old building is the last remaining Victorian bath house still set in its original grounds in South Yorkshire.
Last year the council threatened to put it up for auction with a guide price of £70,000 to £100,000 saying it was too costly to maintain and had been left derelict for a decade.
Residents and MP Clive Betts spoke out against the sale. A petition to save the spa was launched which gained more than 900 signatures and a fundraising campaign was started to raise funds for the community to buy it off the council.
The council then agreed to postpone the auction for further discussion with the community.
It was also recently made an ‘asset of community value’, meaning the group have six months notice to raise funds and put a bid together if the council put it up for sale again. This right to notice will last for five years.
Experts have said there is a lot of work to be done on the building and it is likely to “collapse” if action is not taken within the next couple of years.
Mrs Beckett-Smith said recent assessment of the site showed a pipe had burst, there was no running water and no power.
The group are currently coming up with ideas for how to raise money and will re-launch their fundraising campaign once they have a clear estimate of the costs.
To donate to the fundraising campaign, go to: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/birleyspa