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20th September 2006
Cash Plea for Historic Gledhow Valley Bath House

- From the Yorkshire Evening Post, article by Debbie Leigh

Bath Time: Mervyn Clayton, a member of Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods, sits near the plunge pool which is fed by a natural spring within the bath house Friends call on council to dip into its pockets

A Group of volunteers is begging the Council to save one of the city's hidden treasures.

It is two years since the Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods took the first steps towards restoring the 300 year old Bath House on Gledhow Valley Road, and first called on Leeds City Council to help.

The authority put up a fence to keep out the vandals, thieves and prostitutes that had plagued the listed building but no cash has ever materialised.

Martin Calvert, chairman of the voluntary group which meets monthly to keep the woods and surrounding area tidy, said: "It's a proper little jewel and it should be treated like one. It's only going to get worse, not better."

Volunteer Joan Clayton said councillor John Proctor, executive board member for leisure, had got their hopes up two years ago when he told them the council was "assessing a range of facilities for possible Lottery bids and this building features in the discussions."

But they were later told the building had missed out on funding.

Mrs Clayton said "The Friends don't have the resources to take on restoring the building. We are not asking for a lot. Don't let it go to rack and ruin."

The Bath House sometimes known as Gipton Spa or Waddington's Bath, proved a hit during the recent Heritage Open Days despite its slightly dilapidated appearance.

Last year it was opened up for the first time, thanks to the Friends, and in just four hours attracted around 400 visitors keen to see the freezing 5ft deep plunge pool fed by a natural spring.

Mr Calvert said they were happy to advise the council but there wasn't much more they could do because of possible problems with insurance.

The building's original York stone roof was stolen around 15 years ago and replaced by corrugated sheeting which has since been vandalised.

An internal wooden door was attacked, graffiti painted on the plunge pool walls and stones surrounding the bath removed.

The group wants the roof to be replaced with York stone, cracked flagstones replaced and a new fence put up which is more in keeping with the building.

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: "We are looking at options for the future of the building."

"It is inspected regularly and we have put up fencing to the rear of the building and our park watch patrols make regular visits in a bid to reduce the threat of vandalism. We will continue to work with the Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods to further maintain and enhance these valuable woodlands."

"We would be very happy to discuss their concerns."

- end -

More information about the opening of Gipton Spa Bath House for Leeds Heritage Open Days, together with photographs from the events, can be found in the Events Gallery section.

You can also learn more about the history of Gipton Spa in the About the Woods section.

If you come across any articles in newspapers or magazines which relate to the Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods, or to the woods in general, please contact us so we can add them to the site.

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