February 1st 7.00pm
Droitwich Spa Community Hall, Heritage Way, Droitwich
On Friday 12 December 2008, following specialist inspections at Droitwich Spa Brine Baths, BMI Healthcare closed the facility to allow further building investigations to take place and to avoid any potential hazard to the public or staff.
Wychavon District Council are the landlords of the Brine Bath and felt a deep responsiblity to help. The residents of Droitwich Spa, were horrified at the closure. A task force was set up under the chairmanship of Wychavon Councillor Tom McDonald and there followed a period of consultation, ‘what can be done’
As part of that process, a major consultation exercise was organised for Monday, February 1, with a public open evening. Members of the Brine Baths Task Force, the group set up by Wychavon District Council to respond to the closure of the site in St Andrew’s Street, asked what people want the future to hold for town’s brine assets. A fund of £200,000 from BMI Healthcare is available to support a new brine experience.
In a packed hall, working groups put forward ideas and recommendations. Some 15 members of WDC councillors and staff, including the Managing Director, were on hand as facilitator’s. This shows the importance WDC puts on the continuation of a facility in Droitwich.
Before the meeting, Phil Merrick, from Wychavon District Council, said: “During the consultation we will be asking people what they see as a brine experience. “Would they see it more as a heritage focal point or as a principal bath facility? “We want to know what they would like it to look like and if it should be combined with other attractions in the town or as a standalone building. “There are a number of options that could come forward and we want to be able to judge any proposal by set criteria. We want that criteria to be made up of what the people of Droitwich think.”
Councillor Tom McDonald, chairman of the task force, said: “I am aware of the disappointment created by the brine baths closure, but before the task force develops options I really want to hear the public’s views on what they would like to see in the future.” Local interested groups are also being invited to a consultation meeting earlier in the day.
After February 1, display boards and questionnaires will be available at the Heritage Centre and Community Contact Centre to gather more views.
The meeting has been welcomed as a step in the right direction by town campaign group Save Our Brine Baths (SOBBS). William Moy, chairman of SOBBS, said: “We welcome the meeting and would urge residents to attend and give their views. As a group we want to make sure the £200,000 is spent towards replacing the brine baths.”
During the informative, interesting and entertaining evening, a petition containing 5000 signatures, collected over 4 weekends in Droitwich Spa town centre, was handed to Cllr McDonald. Here at WDC we all hope a solution can be found to keep the ‘Spa’ in Droitwich Spa.