Contributed by Dr Angela Drakakis-Smith
It seems that the public Jubilee Baths are about to be demolished and a new baths and leisure centre built. The plans are currently on deposit at the Guildhall and on the Borough Council web site.
The reality of a new leisure centre arises because the old one needs repair and it is cheaper to start again. Frankly the old one looks fine and is aesthetically more pleasing than many of its neighbouring structures.
The new building is to house a 25m pool – some people had hope for an Olympic size pool – too bad! Olympic hopefuls will have to travel to Birmingham to train. The building itself appears from the drawings less than impressive. It has a 1960s look about it and resembles that very ill-mannered building nearby, Copthorne House which is ear-marked for demolition in forward plans. The new leisure centre could replace it in ugliness and in its turn be earmarked for demolition in due course. So there is hope.
In the meantime the Georgia Pacific site building development grows apace. The neighbouring building the Holborn is up for sale and the developer, we are told is interested in the old Pomona Inn – not to demolish we trust. However, whilst this is a listed building nothing is sacred – see above. And so we wait to see if these new buildings can rise to expectation or will it be more of the same? Should we have more say in the development of such prominent sites and if we do speak, should those in authority listen just a little bit harder?