FIRE-RAVAGED Bath Place is set to be given a new lease of life.
The landmark building in the heart of Leamington’s Old Town has stood all but empty since a massive blaze gutted it in 2009.
The former Victorian school was home to Bath Place Community Venture (BPCV), which offered everything from a vegetarian cafe to volunteering opportunities, a nursery to mental health services for 35 years prior to the devastating blaze.
The building was put on the market by owners Warwickshire County Council in August 2013 and a team of volunteers from BPCV had developed plans to regenerate the building.
They hoped to create a large community space, up to ten meeting rooms, an IT suite, a family centre, a café and a creative studio.
But in May 2014, county council chiefs decided the site should be sold to HB Villages – leaving BPCV and its supporters devastated.
An application was submitted to Warwick District Council in February last year asking for permission to demolish the burnt out shell and neighbouring buildings.
And councillors followed officers’ recommendations – giving HB Villages’ £2million scheme the go-ahead by eight votes to three at a planning meeting this week.
The new owners now plan to build 16 supported living apartments for vulnerable adults with physical and learning disabilities on the site.
Designed to give people the opportunity to live as independently as possible, the apartments will have 24 hour support.
Alastair Sheehan, development director at HB Villages, said he was excited to be part of the project.
He told The Observer: “There is, without doubt, a shortage of suitable homes for those with specialist supported living needs so I’m delighted to see the progress being made at this development, which will provide a modern and safe environment for vulnerable people.
“There seems to be a real sense of community in Leamington and I’m pleased the new residents will be made to feel welcome.
“We are proud to be adding to the landscape of services available in Warwickshire and this is a fantastic example of what can be achieved through partnership working between statutory, not-for-profit and private sectors.
“I would like to thank the officers and members from both the county and district who have supported this project and helped bring it to fruition.
“HB Villages look forward to working with everyone to make this a valued resource for years to come.”
Work is set to start within the next few months and the project is expected to be completed this time next year.