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Wakefield's Sun Lane baths to face the wrecking ball

Wakefield City Council has admitted it will launch a design competition for the replacement for the doomed 1930s Sun Lane baths.

Earlier this month the authority hammered the final nail into the coffin for the 'handsome' brick swimming pool when it agreed the building should be bulldozed to make way for a new facility.

The move was condemned by The Twentieth Century Society, which had objected to the proposals to flatten the baths, designed by city architect Percy Morris in 1936.

In a letter to the council, the society said the building was 'architecturally interesting' and that the structure had 'weathered well' - contradicting official reports that the building was structurally unsafe.

The pool closed in June for health-and-safety reasons and the council said it was 'not economically viable' to repair the 'failing' structure with its slipper baths, café, terrace and competition-size swimming pool.

However in response to calls from the city's civic society, Denise Jeffery, Wakefield Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Sport, gave an assurance that an existing frieze by Arnold Sharp on the outside of the pool would be retained and incorporated into any new building.

by Richard Waite

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