A beloved Leicestershire beauty spot has been bought for £620,000 by the local council to secure its future as a green space.
Ashby Bath Grounds, often referred to as ‘the jewel in the crown’ of the picturesque market town, had been earmarked for housing 10 years ago. However Ashby Town Council purchased the site last Tuesday (August 1), in order to protect it from development.
The purchase means that the Town Council and the people of Ashby and Blackfordby now own the Bath Grounds.
Council leader Chris Smith, called it “fantastic news for the town.”
“It is a tribute to all those who campaigned to protect the Bath Grounds when they were under threat from new housing; to those who have worked hard, both Town Council staff and volunteers, to maintain the Bath Grounds and all the residents of the town who have, through their council tax, enabled the purchase to go ahead,” he said.
“I also want to thank our Town Clerk, Jack Fargher, and the Town Council’s legal adviser, Ian Riley (Director & Head of Commercial Property at Fishers Solicitors), for all their advice, guidance and hard work over many years in negotiating the deal with Oakland Hotels.”
The Town Council says that it is committed to improving and enhancing the Bath Grounds for the benefit of the Ashby community and would welcome suggestions and ideas from people of the town. It will also investigate ways to ensure the Bath Grounds are protected for future generations whatever the make-up of the Town Council.
The purchase also means that the authority can develop a nearby hotel it has also bought from previous owners Oaklands Hotels.
Work on the restoration is set to begin shortly, with Ashby Town Council saying roof repairs will begin within the next few weeks. Speaking previously, Simon Dawson, director of Oakland Hotels Ltd, said: “We remain committed to providing not only economic benefits to the local area, but a facility of which the people of Ashby can once again be proud.”