BUCKLEY residents who want to see the town's Old Baths site transformed have been encouraged to work together to bring the project closer to reality.

The Leader has reported numerous times over the years on the plans to regenerate the long-disused site, located next to Buckley Town Council on Mold Road - with Councillors Carol Ellis, Mike Peers and Dennis Hutchinson sharing their hopes of giving the building a new lease of life.

The councillors, who are also the three remaining trustees and directors of Old Buckley Baths Community Hall Ltd, said they hoped to turn it into a multi-use community space.

A study in 2021 by the project's consultants and architects estimated a £1.1m cost for the scheme; with aspirations for the building including a community and education hub, a central space for activities such as cinema and artisan markets, a new cafe, a performance space complimentary to venues like the Tivoli and flexible office space.

But Cllrs Ellis and Peers have confirmed to the Leader that despite years of battling to move the project forward, they have now accepted it is 'too big a project' for three people - and have sought help from Buckley Town Council and Flintshire County Council.

The Leader: Buckley's Old Baths interior (Staff)Buckley's Old Baths interior (Staff) (Image: Staff)

Cllr Peers said: "We engaged with the consultants to look at the viability of the business and to turn it into a community hall for people in Buckley of all ages.

"The result indicated it is a viable project, but will need extensive funding - anything around £800,000 to £1m.

"We have a report to say that the building is in generally good condition, and that is the basis to go forward - but as a group of three we feel that on our own we have reached the end of the road.

"Myself, Dennis and Carol saw beyond the initial challenge and felt it was worthy of taking this forward for the benefit of the community.

"Our research showed similar projects in Altrincham and Crewe where baths had successfully been converted.

"But it was clear that in all cases, local authority involvement was essential."

At its June meeting, Buckley Town Council heard a presentation from the Old Buckley Baths Community Hall Limited directors, and they asked if the council wishes to take any actions to support the project.

It was resolved that the locum clerk of the council should look at the possibility of supporting the scheme and explore the cost implications to the town council.

The Leader: Cllrs Dennis Hutchinson, Mike Peers and Carol Ellis outside the Old Baths (Staff)Cllrs Dennis Hutchinson, Mike Peers and Carol Ellis outside the Old Baths (Staff) (Image: Staff)Cllr Peers said he and his colleagues have also met with representatives of Buckley Town Council and Flintshire County Council to make the case for joint working to take the project forward by promoting it and find funding for the transformation.

He added: "It is a town centre facility which would be of benefit to Buckley.

"We need to have local authority help to bring funding for it because it is going to take more than three directors to deliver this project.

"It's doomed to failure if we just try and do it on our own - we recognise that, and we don't want it to fail."

He suggested one avenue could be the Heritage Lottery Funding scheme, or something similar.

Cllr Ellis said: "We have done everything we can but it is such a big project, and it needs a lot of money.

"This is an iconic building and it is an asset to the town.

"But we can't move it forward - it's just too big a project for the three of us."

Andrew Farrow, Flintshire Council's chief officer for planning, environment and economy, said: "The council has met the trustees of the former Buckley Baths several times to offer support to them in realising their aspiration to safeguard the building for the future.

"For the Baths building to have a successful and sustainable future, the people of Buckley need to work with the Trustees and the two councils to turn the broad ideas for the building into robust plans. 

"With this in mind, the council is working with Buckley Town Council to find people in Buckley interested in contributing to the future of this important local asset.”

Shaun Jones, locum town clerk at Buckley Town Council, echoed the call - encouraging residents with skills who wish to make a difference for the project to come forward and express their interest in helping.