Community group investigating possibilities for re-opening Newcastle Turkish Baths with £10k Grant award

Monday 8 December

Re-open Newcastle Turkish Baths Group are undergoing pre-feasibility research and business planning to look into options for re-opening Newcastle’s historic Grade 11 listed Turkish Baths thanks to £10,000 grant from the Social Investment Business.

The Baths and Pools were closed to the public on 28 March 2013 as part of Newcastle City Council’s budget cuts.

The Re-open Newcastle Turkish Baths Group have been meeting regularly to look at ways to re-open the baths and pools: the grant will allow them to take this work further. As well as enabling them to assess the current state of the building and decide what work needs to be done, the money from the Social Investment Business will help create new business models to effectively drive the project forward. The business plan will be presented to Newcastle City Council with the hope that a strong case can be made for The Turkish Baths being re-opened, benefitting Newcastle’s residents and visitors.

Teresa Marshall from Re-open Newcastle Turkish Baths Group said:

“This is great news for the group, and a vote of confidence for our campaign to re-open the Turkish Baths. Over the past few months we have been investigating the viability of re-opening The Turkish Baths and we delighted to be working with experts from Jesmond Community Pool to draw on their knowledge and experience to help drawn up are with new business models and options. We hope that we can make a strong case to present to Newcastle City Council and be part of their future plans for the building.

We are calling for any organisations who may have an interest in helping to re-open the Turkish Baths or in putting forward a proposal for another part of the building to come forward so we can look at possible collaborations. We also welcome individuals to show their support through our facebook group or joining our mailing list.”

Re-open Newcastle Turkish Baths Group got the historic Grade 11 listed Turkish Baths and City Pool listed as an asset of community interest in December 2013, and have had regular meetings with Newcastle City Council about the future of the site. Members of the Re-open Newcastle Turkish Baths Group are working with Managers from Jesmond Pool to draw on their expertise on managing a community run leisure venue and to help then draw up a business plan for the Turkish Baths to present to Newcastle City Council

Two conservation plans and reports done for Newcastle City Council in Februrary 2010 by North East Civic Trust detailing the architectural and heritage significance of the Pools and Baths and lay down guidelines of how the features of the buildings should be maintained. City Pool was one of only 19 public baths in the UK opened in the 1920s that is still in use today. The Grade 11 listed Turkish Baths are particularly important from a heritage point of view, being one of only 13 remaining Turkish Baths in the country. In fact, only 10 of these are open to the public with only 7 (including the baths in Newcastle)* being listed buildings.

When open, the Turkish Baths were not marketed effectively to the public.

In response to its proposed closure, a survey completed by users showed that current customers would support a small increase in cost per visit which would have generated an extra £100,000 a year.

It is understood that Newcastle City Council had been in discussion with various organisations to take over all or part of the City Pool and City Hall building, with the priority of maintaining the City Hall, although they are no longer in active discussions with any of these organisations.

Re-open Newcastle Turkish Baths groups would be interested in hearing from any organisations who would be interested in working in partnership to bring the Turkish Baths back into use or have an interest in any other part of the building to look at possible collaborations.

Individuals interested in being part of the campaign or lending their support can join the mailing list by emailing SaveNewcastleTurkishBaths@gmail.com or following Re-open Newcastle Turkish Baths on facebook.