Three years and nothing done for Bath Place

By Kevin Unitt Friday 28 September 2012 Updated: 28/09 08:31

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Buy photos » Three years on from the major fire and Bath Place Community Venture’s original home remains gutted and out of use. 39.012.047.leam.jm

THREE YEARS ago this week a major blaze destroyed the home of Bath Place Community Venture but still nothing has been done to bring the gutted building back into use.

And now the organisation is facing homelessness once again, having had to hand back the keys to its temporary home of the last two years - the old library on Avenue Road - because owners Warwickshire College are selling it off for housing development.

It is an episode which many feel reflects poorly on local authorities, particularly amid talk of the 'Big Society' and its supposed help for people doing good in local communities.

Bath Place spokesman Clayton Denwood told The Observer: “Leamington now has three large community sites - the old library, the United Reformed Church and our old site - standing empty while ourselves and all the other groups we serve are scrambling around trying to find adequate space.

“It really makes one wonder what the real agenda is.”

Caroline Dyer, a former deputy manager of the Bath Place nursery, could not believe the organisation was again facing having no headquarters.

She said: “The original building remains in much the same state as it was after the fire, other than some demolition to make safe certain areas.

“Services can no longer be offered from the old library and it seems impossible that now, three years on, the quest for a suitable premises in a suitable location is still ongoing.”

The old Bath Place building, gutted by fire on September 24 2009 after a workman accidentally set the roof alight, is owned by Warwickshire County Council.

A council spokesperson this week said they were still awaiting an insurance settlement, but added it was unlikely the former Victorian school building would be repaired.

They added: "Warwick District Council who own the adjoining property have previously expressed interest in purchasing and developing the site and this will be considered once the outstanding insurance claim has been settled."

Warwick and Leamington MP Chris White said of the issue: “There is a lot of passion for Bath Place - I have always supported it and hope it rises again.

“I have been involved in meetings between the venture and local authorities and am really keen for some sort of way forward to be agreed quickly.”

The treasured organisation, running since the mid 1970s, has provided mental health services plus music, job and nursery sessions and cheap healthy meals to more than 100 people a day.

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