Baths’ future is still undecided

THE future of the former Wombwell Baths is still undecided after the new owner’s initial plans fell through.

Wombwell businessman Kelvin Shaw had hoped to develop a second carpet shop at the Hough Lane site, but had to change course after Barnsley Council said the plan would not be viable.

He is currently seeking planning permission for the building to become a dance academy with a front-facing flat, as the building is still licenced as a dance hall. But he has other options to explore.

He told the Times: “The baths are still a bombsite inside so it is difficult for prospective tenants to visualise how it could look, but the interest is there.”

Mr Shaw is also considering a 24-hour gym, or a possible conversion to a set of townhouses within the fabric of the building.

The baths closed in May last year, as the Council claimed it could not afford to keep them open. Since then, red tape and the theft of copper piping from the building all added to delays, said Mr Shaw. A further month’s wait was forced by a former resident’s application to have the building listed by English Heritage, that was turned down following a detailed survey.

The owner has further frustration with his own garden at Hemingfield Road. A six-year battle to remove sycamore trees that have extended in to his garden from Wombwell Wood, recently went to appeal. Barnsley Council’s decision to ban the removal of trees was upheld in the interests of ‘visual amenity’. “I can’t see the sense of it at all,” said Mr Shaw.