Campaign Calls for Historic Baths to Be Included in Carlisle Investment Plan

Campaign Calls for Historic Baths to Be Included in Carlisle Investment Plan. The Friends of Carlisle Victorian and Turkish Baths have written to Carlisle MP John Stevenson and City Council Leader John Mallinson, calling on them to include Carlisle’s James Street Baths in the City’s Investment Plan.

The Investment Plan, to be drawn up by the City Council, will set out how the £4.1m awarded to Carlisle last month from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund is to be spent.

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The call comes at a critical time for the City’s 138-year-old Public Baths that are scheduled to close in September when new pools open at The Sands Leisure Centre. The Friends Group have been pressing the City Council for over a year to set out plans for the continued operation of the Grade II listed Turkish Baths which form part of the Public Baths.

Carlisle Turkish Baths are one of only twelve remaining Victorian style Turkish Baths still operating in the UK and the only one in the Northwest. Campaigners believe with funding the Baths could make a significant contribution to the local economy as well as continuing to support the Health and Wellbeing of residents.

Chair of the Friends of Carlisle Victorian and Turkish Baths, Julie Minns said,

“We think our Vision for Carlisle’s Baths is tailor-made for the Shared Prosperity Fund. It meets three of the four objectives for the Fund as set out by the Department for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities and supports several of the missions that make-up the Government’s Levelling-Up strategy.

The Government’s Levelling-Up targets include narrowing the gap in Healthy Life Expectancy (HLE) between local areas where it is highest and lowest, and improving wellbeing in every area of the UK. Carlisle has a higher-than-average number of residents with physical and mental health issues, and a lower-than-average life expectancy. Therefore, investing in a facility whose sole purpose is to support health and wellbeing is the obvious thing to do if you are serious closing the gap between cities like ours and more prosperous parts of the Country.”

The letter to the MP and Council Leader also points to the economic benefits of investing in the Baths. Citing the growth in the ‘Wellness Tourism’ where people travel with the purpose of improving their health and well-being through physical, psychological, or spiritual activities, the Group believe the refurbished Baths could bring hundreds of new visitors to the city every year.

In a recent update to Councillors, the Friends point out that a multi-million-pound investment plan by Swindon Council and Central Government to refurbish the town’s Health Hydro and Turkish Baths is estimated to deliver £13.7m of additional economic benefits and increase the attractiveness of the town centre as a place to live, work and invest.

“Last year local people managed to persuade the City Council to include the Baths in the Carlisle Plan. Now the Council has the chance to fund it too, let us hope they take it.” Commented Julie Minns.

The Friends are due to meet with the City Council and other stakeholders on Wednesday 8 June to discuss the Shared Prosperity Fund and the development of Carlisle’s Investment Plan.

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