Fitness and spa operators 'interested' in re-opening Doncaster's abandoned 1930s St James' Baths

A number of ‘interested developers’ are looking into taking over St James’ Baths in Doncaster town centre.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service has been told that three serious parties are in the process of drawing up business proposals in order to take over the dilapidated building in the town centre.

The three firms are said to be all leisure, fitness and spa-type companies which is in line with what the council wants the building to eventually become.

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The Local Democracy Service has asked DMBC officials if any of the proposals will be restoring the swimming pool.

St James' BathsSt James' Baths
St James' Baths

But there are concerns from some council bosses that the developers could be put off due to the amount of the work the building will need to bring it back up to scratch.

This is despite £4.7 million being secured through the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.

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“The vision is that people could spend a full day hopping from the baths, cinema, CAST and the museum and library in one day - that would massively boost the town centre’s offer.”

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The building has been closed to the public since 2013. In 2018, it suffered a roof collapse and interim repairs had to be made at the cost to the council for a flat roof over the Turkish baths.

A comprehensive structural investigation was carried out to identify the true extent of the problems.

The building was put up for sale in 2019 by Doncaster Council but no bidders came forward.

The site was officially opened in 1932 and its swimming pool hall was designed so it could be converted into a concert and dance venue.

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During the winter months, the pool was covered with a sprung maple floor enabling the hall to hold about 1,500 people.

With a stage at one end and a projection box for films, the building was used as a venue for many performers including The Beatles who played a gig in the 1960s.

It also included Turkish and Russian baths in the basement with mosaic floor and wall tiling and a drinking fountain. The original baths remain largely as they were when built over 80 years ago.

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