Funds sought for Spa Baths

Councillors launched a bid to try and ensure money is put aside for much-needed maintenance and improvements to Ripon Spa Baths.

With £1.1million saved by Harrogate Borough Council from last financial year’s budget, Liberal Democrat Councillors Pat Marsh and Philip Broadbank put forward a proposal for some of the money to be earmarked for improvements to at a council meeting on Thursday, July 21.

They tabled a motion that £100,000 should be put aside for the upkeep of leisure services across the district – including Ripon’s historic Spa Baths.

However, the ruling Conservative councillors voted for an alternative proposal in favour of referring the idea to council officials for further investigation.

Coun Stuart Martin, Conservative councillor for Ripon Minster, said that with the notice of motion being put forward with little prior warning councillors did not feel they had time to consider it properly at the meeting.

“What we didn’t want to do was to make policy on the hoof. We wanted a proper report from the officials so we know tax payers money will be well spent.

“The money is sat in the general fund which we would be able to access if the Ripon baths needed it.”

But Coun Marsh, Liberal Democrat spokeswoman for Cultural Services, said with a report on the condition of the Spa Baths due shortly, they had wanted the certainty of money put aside to fund inevitable repairs.

“£100,000 would guarantee work to the baths could be undertaken immediately, without putting other services or assets at risk. Ripon Conservative councillors would not accept this action - they only agreed to investigate and examine future options.

“A condition report is being produced on Ripon Spa Baths and whatever faults or problems are found, it is obvious to all concerned money will be needed to help resolve them. There is already a shortfall in the fund allocated for refurbishment of leisure assets in the district, Ripon Spa Baths being one of them.”

Coun Marsh said that with their proposal rejected the money would have to be found elsewhere.

“They are procastinating while the building is decaying,” she added.