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By Ian Dipple Thursday 29 May 2014 Updated: 03/06 16:55
WORK to transform the town’s swimming pool into housing could start as early as the autumn, almost three years after it closed.
Redditch Co-operative Homes told the Standard it hopes to be in a position to submit a planning application for the Hewell Road site within the next four weeks. The site will be used to create 13 affordable homes including two bungalows and 11 houses.
If approved it will bring to an end the long-running saga over the site’s future following its closure in January 2012 to make way for the opening of the £6.5million revamp of the Abbey Stadium.
So far delays in dealing with the sale of the site have cost taxpayers more than £16,000 in security and other expenses. It continues to cost the council £137 a week, as despite councillors agreeing to sell the land for a nominal fee of £1 last July, they continue to own the site.
A spokesman for Redditch Borough Council said a number of pieces of work and investigations needed to be carried out before they could dispose of the land while the proposals also changed from being all two to three bedroom homes to include two bungalows.
“The council will continue to own the site until a development is certain to come forward,” he said.
Carl Taylor, director of Redditch Co-operative Homes, added: “We’re pleased to announce we plan to submit a planning application to develop the Hewell Road site in the next four weeks, following a diligent
pre-demolition assessment of the site.”
Labour councillors came under fire from the Conservatives for effectively giving the site away for social housing but it was argued the cost of demolition and dealing with asbestos in the building would equal what the land was worth.
The pool was originally outdoor and in 1908 resembled more of a lido. In 1929, presumably on the instigation of the council at the time, a roof was added and it was officially opened as a swimming baths.
But historians remained baffled as to how the pool came into existence in the first place and who owned it.
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