The decade-long saga of the Bristol North Baths may be finally reaching a conclusion, as the Mayor considers allocating additional funding to ensure the developments completion at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday 5th April. The council took back control of the long–delayed development last autumn, and the proposal is that additional money invested by the council would be repaid once the scheme is completed.
Green Councillors have welcomed the news that the development will finally be completed, but have stressed the need for the local community to be kept informed and for there to be complete transparency over the completion process.
Redland’s Green Councillor, Martin Fodor, who has tabled a question1 to the Mayor ahead of the cabinet meeting, said:
“The development has taken a decade since it was conceived, and we do hope the end is in sight at last. Many residents have had concerns about the delays since the development has unravelled, and lack of communication has led to rumours and misinformation. As local councillors, we have tried to provide as much information as possible through local magazines and newsletters, but getting up to date news that keeps people informed has not always been easy.”
“Now, with additional financing being sought, it’s time for an open approach and a commitment to keeping everyone abreast of progress and timescales. This is why I’m seeking a public assurance from the Mayor that residents, traders and us as elected representatives are kept informed in a timely and accurate manner. Let’s use this opportunity for a new start, and work together for the speedy completion of this troubled development."
The council has made clear its priority is completing the new flats, library, public toilets, and restoring the shoppers’ car park. The old baths building will take longer. The value of the development will ensure no overall cost to the council (see: https://www2.bristol.gov.uk/committee/2016/ua/ua000/0405_6.pdf).
Councillor Fodor is also asking that there should be a commitment to learning lessons from the experience.
Image: Rob Brewer
Cllr Fodor’s question to the Mayor:
QUESTION SUBMITTED BY GREEN COUNCILLORS to CABINET – Tues 5th April
AGENDA ITEM 6: Funding to complete Bristol North Baths Development
Cllr Martin Fodor
I welcome steps being taken to complete the long running development fiasco of Bristol North Baths which started a decade ago.
I gather that once contracts are in place and work restarts there is due to be an 8 week completion of the modern parts of the development. This is good news as new residents are keen for their flats (some have even sadly lost mortgage offers along the way). The public toilets need to be reinstated on the site; and then once its fit out is completed the relocation of the library is good news that many residents have been waiting years for.
It’s also positive that the opportunity is being taken to reopen negotiations with the Bishopston Medical Practice, as their current plans are only temporary and are going to affect local residents (as was clear in Development Control).
Can the Mayor assure local residents, traders and councillors that:
After a decade of plans and development issues, steps are being taken to ensure that Bristol North Baths will be put back on track for completion. Can you assure us that ward Cllrs and local residents will be kept fully informed so that accurate information is made available in a timely manner and that the restoration of the shopper’s car park is in the early list of things to be completed, as local traders need to know this.
Some of the problems that have beleaguered this project are bad luck, but it is clear that over the decade long lifetime of the project, mistakes have been made by the Council. Can you confirm that, without delaying the development further, a full and publicly available review of the project once completed will be made so that similar mistakes are not made again?”