Friends of Jacobs Wells Baths Working Group – Minutes 23 March 2017

Meeting held at Jacobs Wells Baths 6.30 – 8.30pm

Present:  Anne Mayo, Alessandro Marzotto Levy, Chris Millman (minutes), Corinne Fitzpatrick, Dina Ntziora, Francis Harvey, Graham Eggar, Helen Bone, Jerome Thomas (chair), Joel Ashley, Jonas Langner, Judy Goldsmith, Norman Routledge, Pat Chapple, Sarah Bancroft, Sean Redmond, Stephen Beggs, Sidika Petterson.

Apologies: Sally Silverman, Sara Wex , James Crick, Dennis Gornall, Simon Birch, Heather W, Sherrie Eugene, Derek & Sylvia Newcombe,

1)    Introductions

There was a brief round of introductions. Chris Millman agreed to take notes.

2)     Purpose of Group/ Terms of Reference 

Jerome circulated a draft document and this was agreed as our Terms of Reference.

There was a question as to whether fundraising was part of our remit. There would need to be a small fund for refreshments at meetings and other expenses which might arise. There was a suggestion of a fundraising concert. Tony Robinson has expressed an interest in being a media ‘Champion’ for JWB, as has Sherrie Eugene.

Helen Bone pointed out that we do not have a bank account, but other associated organisations may be prepared to hold funds on our behalf. She is anxious not to introduce another layer of bureaucracy.


3)     Agreement of minutes and matters arising since JWB meeting of 16 Feb

There were no questions or matters arising.


4)     Updates

-Artspace Lifespace – Lease extension/Building use/Building maintenance

Dina Ntziora reported that the Artspace Lifespace lease has been extended until September. She has asked for a further extension until 18 January so that a big site specific show can be produced to mark the end of the lease. The Community Hub are now based in the northern part of the building, with an artist working in ceramics in the South Hall and Impermanence Dance Theatre in the Office and occasionally Main Hall. Having activities on a daily basis helps to make the facilities nicer and more welcoming.

Quartet have supported Artspace Lifespace with a grant of £2,000, while £5,000 has been provided by Architectural Heritage Fund to pay for a Building Condition Survey as well as a few days of Helen’s services. The surveyor will first come on 31st March

Bookings are coming in. An aerial rig is being constructed for circus training in the main hall in April. There will be a work in progress show from Impermanence on 6 April. On April 8th there is a national ‘Get Creative’ Day in the Hub Space and a two day circus workshop at the same time. Theatre bookings and shows for the community also expected. We will be taking part in Doors Open Day in September.


Electrics: Everything that failed has been re-done, re-wired and made safe. This has been certificated. Pleased that BCC have funded work on Health and safety issues.

Heating: System in main hall due to be serviced by Council next week. System in the cafe is not good, but usable.

Roof: One or two places where the rain got in during recent downfalls, otherwise holding up OK and not getting any worse.

Boiler: An application to the Neighbourhood Partnership Small Grant Fund for £6,800 to replace the boiler and improve accessibility.

It was suggested that further funds might be raised via a crowdfunding campaign. JWCH might compile a wish list.

Jerome raised an issue not on the agenda. He reported on an opportunity to bid for Heritage Lottery funding for a ‘Local Learning’ history project possibly involving St, Georges School with the Baths at its centre. This was being promoted by Ruth Myers and Lori Streich who will write the bid ‘at risk.’ This would be an opportunity to build a relationship with Lottery funders.


-28 February CAT launch event

Helen Bone described the process of the Community Asset Transfer. There had been good support from the council and a genuine desire to do the right thing. The launch event, attended by 70/100 people, had raised awareness and bought people together. Lots of arts organisations were represented, also people who run other buildings, local residents and politicians.


-CAT process update and working with potential bidders

Helen felt that things had gone a bit quiet since the launch, but has recently had a positive meeting with Steve Matthews (John Bos’ Boss) who told her that the CAT document needs to be written and uploaded in the next two weeks. He has suggested that BCC may have less desire to keep hold of building due to current conditions facing local authorities and may be willing to give up the freehold to if they have confidence they have found the right organisation to take long term care of the building.

Helen noted that Estella Tincknell said in her speech that she was not committing to providing the £250,000 necessary to stop the rain coming in. Helen would like FoJWB to campaign for the council to make this commitment to compensate for the building having been neglected for so long. She and Jerome will think about the right approach in doing so, possibly via Robert Orrett and senior politicians.

It was suggested that we should do some PR as soon as the document is uploaded and the clock starts to tick towards the August deadline for bids.

In the first week of May there will be a technical workshop with potential bidders, offering a networking opportunity for potential partnership working. Pete Insole, BCC Conservation Officer will be present and the Building Condition Survey should be available.

Helen’s role is to be an independent facilitator keeping confidentiality and taking an even-handed approach towards bidders, helping them all to put in high quality bids. She will be asking John Boss for a list of attendees at the launch, to facilitate likely contenders talking to each other and possibly creating a grand coalition.


5)     Questions and feedback on updates

JWCH will meet with any bidders to share our community aspirations. There will be local representation on the panel that makes the decision. There will be a service level agreement alongside the CAT to specify what needs to be provided. This is the model used at the Trinity Centre. The selection criteria will balance the ‘nice to haves’ against the ‘must haves.’ A proposal for sole use would be marked down as likely loss of utility to the community. If there are no good quality bids, BCC will put the building on the market. They are getting it valued.

It was suggested that community champions could help promote and broaden the range of bids, including interest from outside of Bristol. Helen will discuss how CAT is to be promoted with John Boss. She wants to put her energy into people who love the building, not those who see it as an asset to exploit.

There was a question as to whether the planning brief would allow radical changes to be made if nobody wants the building as it stands. For instance, a mezzanine floor has been suggested. Norman Routledge from Kingsweston House said that Pete Insole, Conservation Officer, would have a view and would make early comment.


6)     Agreement of next steps & meeting dates to September

It was agreed that the meeting pencilled in for 20 April was too soon, and that we should instead meet on 11 May, to allow the technical workshop to report back.

The following meeting was set for 29 June.


7)     Any other business

The UWE students who have been involved with a project on the building are showing their designs at an open day at Frenchay on Friday 31 March, 10-4. There is also a student at Bath University writing an MA thesis about the building.