The Ladywell Old Baths (or 'Playtower') featured heavily at the Ladywell Ward Assembly meeting on 27 January where a presentation was made by Ashton Bentley, one of the organisations proposing to restore and re-use the building. The Company, which makes audio visual equipment, proposes to base its R&D and main offices in a fully-restored building. They would also enable various leisure/cultural uses - including a cafe, rehearsal space and exhibition space as well as 30 hi-tech office 'pods' which would be installed in the main swimming pool hall.
The Company would also rebuild the old destroyed 'second class' pool hall (at the rear of the site adjacent to the Churchyard) and use this for their own offices. Ashton Bentley are also interested in taking on the Coroner's Court building, although it is unclear whether the Council is willing to dispose of this building at the same time. There was considerable support for the proposals from those present, though there was consensus too that the public should be able to see all the other proposals coming forward.
The officer responsible for the future of the site, Gavin Plaskitt, also spoke at the meeting. He indicated that the Council had received a number of exciting proposals for the Old Baths from some very experienced organisations, of which Ashton Bentley's was just one, and the Council would be publishing an 'Expression of Interest' form in the next 4-6 weeks to kick-off the process of selecting a development partner. He gave a clear assurance at the meeting that the local community would get a chance to see all the various proposals, potentially at a future local assembly meeting.