Loan agreed to help preserve Manchester building

Manchester City Council’s executive committee are expected to agree £1m of loan funding to secure the future of the historic Withington Baths.

The loan will help the operating trust to meet the costs of essential repair work after rising construction costs left them significantly short of funding.

The Baths is managed by the Love Withington Baths Charitable Trust, which took over the leisure centre following a successful campaign to save the building in 2015.

The Baths had been earmarked for closure – to be replaced by the new Hough End Leisure Centre – but the local group fought for its survival as a community asset – safeguarding 25 jobs and retaining the centre for 2,000 members, including 700 children who visit weekly for swimming sessions.

The baths also provide workspaces for around 20 local self-employed traders.

The Trust managed to secure £900k of Heritage Lottery funding but were unsuccessful in their Levelling Up Fund bid.

Cllr Bev Craig, leader elect of Manchester City Council, said: ‘The Trust have proven themselves to be a remarkably successful group who have not only saved and retained use of a beautiful heritage building in Withington, but have maintained access to swimming and leisure facilities for the local community.

‘This loan will secure the future of this building for the decades to come, providing a sustainable future for the Baths and supporting the continued success of Withington as a better place to live and work.’

Paul Smith, managing director of Love Withington Baths, added: ‘Withington is the last working Edwardian pool in Manchester from the extensive network which were built across the city as part of a public health movement in the early part of the 20th century.

‘This financial support, partly secured from The National Heritage Lottery Fund and further funding by the Council, means that we can complete the full works which are required to restore the Baths to its original condition and to ensure that it continues to provide high quality health and fitness services for local people for years and years to come.’

In related news, Manchester City Council has secured almost £20m for a project to transform two dilapidated buildings and three railway arches into spaces for the tech and creative industries.

Photo supplied by Manchester City Council


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