Final fight for Bath Place future

By Kevin Unitt Friday 14 September 2012 Updated: 14/09 07:35

LAST-DITCH moves are being made to save one of Leamington's most-loved community organisations from being left homeless.

Bath Place Community Venture faces possible closure as its current home – the old library building in Avenue Road – and is proposed to be sold off by owners Warwickshire College for development of 28 new flats.

Warwick District Council's planning department is inviting public responses on the plans only until Monday (September 17) and will then weigh up the bid before deciding whether or not to grant it the green light.

An advert taken out in the Observer last week, entitled 'Community Space Under Threat', urged people to speak out over the proposals before it is too late.

It was not paid for or endorsed by Bath Place itself but instead by a supporter of the organisation - Andrew Emm - who has launched the website in a last-ditch push to resist the sell off of the building.

He wrote on the site: “This website was written simply as somewhere to direct people to if they had seen newspaper adverts, or some paper flyers, concerning the planning application to destroy the old library as a place much used over generations by the people of Leamington.

“This was my, Andrew Emm’s, unilateral act to attempt to save what it seems to me to be so vital for Leamington’s future.

“If I had seen others acting to protest I would have joined them but those that I talked to seemed to have been ground down by the situation and the remarkable lack of support from bodies that you would have thought would have helped.”

Bath Place bosses said in a statement they were "deeply grateful to Andrew for his generosity, concern and public spirit", adding: "For a member of the public to speak out and fund an advert in defence of Bath Place, the community and a great public asset is an example to us all."

Meanwhile a protest petition with as many as 1,700 signatures will be submitted to Leamington Town Council tonight (Thursday). Originally launched by Networking Mummies, a group who used the facilities at Bath Place, it is calling on the council to add its support to the petition.

Among the official objections to the scheme submitted to the district council, English Heritage said the scheme was "intrusive" on the historic building with inadequate information as to why certain aspects had to be demolished.

Bath Place Community Venture - which has been running since the mid 1970s and provides mental health services plus music and job sessions and cheap healthy meals to more than 100 people a day - has been based at the old library in Avenue Road since 2010 after a fire devastated its former home in Bath Place the year before.

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