MP Wera Hobhouse has criticised the decision by B&NES Council not to intervene in the sale of the former Mineral Water Hospital building, following earlier hopes of preserving it for the community.
“BaNES Council’s decision to abandon the Min to market forces shows a complete lack of vision for the city,” said Wera Hobhouse.
“The Tories had the opportunity to get involved in a prestigious project for the Min, in conjunction with Bath Spa University, but decided to put their head in the sands and hope that the issue would go away.
“Bath Preservation Trust applied to have the Min listed as an asset of community value, and even though the future of this building is highly political, the Tories, in a complete abdication of responsibility, left the decision to an official.
“Now we have to hope that the potential new owners, developers Versant, will honour their promise to look at a range of options and to consult with local groups.”
“The Min has an unbroken record over nearly three centuries of research-led treatment for those who suffer rheumatic conditions, and this should be acknowledged.
“The hydrotherapy pool on the ground floor was originally fed by the hot springs, and although health and safety decisions meant that it was replaced by heated mains water, there continues to be a walk-through conduit under the streets, linking the two sites. All this could be lost to the city.”
Wera continued: “The Council had before it a fully funded proposal to combine its existing assets with those of Bath Spa University, in a plan that would have created an internationally excellent fashion hub.
“If the Tories had even the slightest ambition for Bath, the market price could have been paid to the RUH and they would have achieved something great.
“I wholeheartedly support Prof George Odam and the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases Patients in their letter to UNESCO, and all the efforts of the Bath Preservation Trust so far.
“We stand ready to work with Versant, if they choose to consult early, but we also stand ready to take the fight into the planning stages to see what we can achieve in the face of the uninterested Conservatives.”