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Birley Spa Bath House to be made asset of community value

A former bath house which had fallen into disrepair has been registered as an ‘asset of community value’ by Sheffield City Council.

Birley Spa Bath House was due to be sold at auction after the Council declared it no longer needed the building which had been unused since around 2010.

Local voluntary and community groups have the right to nominate certain local publicly or privately owned buildings as assets of community value. In the case of Birley Spa, the council received an application from  a local group concerned about the future of the building.

Campaigners formed a Friends of Birley Spa group which then made representations to the council that it should be made an asset of community value.

This means that the sale of the building is delayed for six months to give the community group chance to put forward its own bid for the building, before it can be potentially sold to someone else.

Birley Spa is a community bath hall and a Victorian bathhouse in Hackenthorpe, built in 1842. In the 1920s and 30s, the grounds were transformed into a playground for children.

Although the building had fallen in to disrepair, its previous use as a community facility used for sports clubs, wedding receptions, pie and peas suppers and plunge pool tours meant that it could be declared as an asset of community value, as well as its status as one of Sheffield’s last remaining bath houses and spas.

The historic former plunge pool

Councillor Jim Steinke, cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety at Sheffield City Council, said:

“We have been very encouraged and impressed by the Friends of Birley Spa and their high-profile campaign to preserve this building. There is no doubt that the building holds a special place in the local area and their campaign has attracted the supported of MPs and other leading voices.

“I am happy to agree with the recommendation that it be registered as an Asset Of Community Value which gives campaigners an opportunity to put together their own bid to secure a viable and alternative use for the spa and its associated grounds.

“This is further evidence of the council’s commitment to register assets that the local community feel are of value.”