Friends of Baths Minutes 11 May

Friends of Jacobs Wells Baths

Steering Group Meeting

Jacobs Wells Baths

Thursday 11 May 2017


Present:                    Sally Silverman, Vivienne Hunt, Judy Goldsmith, Heather Watts, Sidika Petterson, Joel Ashley, Francis Harvey, Pat Chapple, Helen Lambert, Graham Egarr, Jerome Thomas, Helen Bone.

Apologies:    Stephen Beggs, Corrine Fitzpatrick, Derek and Sylvie Newcombe.


  • Jerome T reminded us about the Terms of Reference for the group.
  • Minutes of the last Meeting (that are on the Hub website) were accepted as accurate.

Update – ArtspaceLifeSpace:

  • ASLS now have a lease until September 2018. From December 2017 it can be terminated with one month’s notice.
  • There is a potential booking for three months (September – December 2017). This would be a site specific show.
  • Kathryn Chiswell Jones’(Kat) role as Company Manager is less “hands-on” than Dina’s role.
  • Joel Ashley is the key person to contact about both events and maintenance. Joel Ashley (Duty Manager) contact telephone number – 07745 193622.
  • Joel is getting a wide range of enquiries about using the space.
  • Joel stressed that we can informally use the Main Studio when it is not in use.
  • Singing starts in the building on Thursday 25th May 2017.
  • Joel will show Sally S the shared Google calendar.
  • Sidika P asked about promotion of the lettable space. Clare does all the promotion.
  • People are becoming aware that the building is available to use.
  • Lucy-Ann is the artist in residence in the South Studio.
  • The end of year event may restrict use of the Hub Space.
  • Pat C asked if all incomers to the space know the background of the building.
  • Kathryn’s background is business orientated / architectural.
  • Judy emphasised how positive Joel’s report was.

Helen’s feedback on the Technical Workshop:

  • There are probably 2 or 3 serious bidders.
  • We need to work through how we fine-tune the Community Asset transfer (CAT) process.
  • The Hub Space was full of interested parties; bidders and technical experts.
  • The invitation was that they could ask about the CAT process.
  • Helen explained that the council are under a lot of pressure given the cuts to funding.
  • John Bos is the key council staff member.
  • It appears that the council are totally behind the CAT process.
  • Pete Insole (council Heritage Officer) has said that “this is one of our most important projects”.
  • Is the building on the “at risk” register? – No – it needs a building’s conditions survey first. We could push for this if we think being on the list is beneficial.
  • A professional (Richard) is costing the external work that needs doing on the building. ¾ million pounds mentioned.
  • We need to make sure that we are at the heart of the decision making.
  • Once bidders are on board the process can be time-consuming.
  • The deadline for expressions of interest is 03 July 2017.
  • People at the technical meeting included: Paula O’Rourke, Stephen Beggs, Corrine Fitzpatrick, Trinity (Old Market), Norman Routledge, Make, Spike Island, ArtspaceLifespace, Fusion Lifestyle (London), Paul Hassan (Locality)…………
  • There was no representation from the Dance Alliance.
  • Sean Redmond (PH3design) gave his apologies.
  • There was a lot of expertise in the room.
  • Partnerships may evolve.
  • Helen has given potential bidders one-to-one support.
  • We need to capture feedback from any potential bidders who drop out.
  • There was evidence of an element of collaboration on the day.

The way forward:

  • We could invite potential bidders to meet with us to get comments and input on their initial proposals.
  • We do need some clarity over the process that follows the published deadline (3/7/2017). Helen and Jerome to establish this in a meeting with John Bos.
  • Pat C asked if we have advertised nationally. – No – but we have a national player.
    • Pat made reference to the baths in both Manchester and Liverpool.
  • Working as a consortium is not always easy.
  • We briefly mentioned what the council plan would be if a bidder was not found.
  • Jerome T emphasised that we need to work out the collaborative process that is necessary in conjunction with John Bos and the Council.
  • Jerome explained the entrepreneurial approach used to purchase Kings Weston House.
  • A Building’s Preservation Trust can be formed to save listed buildings.
  • A Newcastle based example was given where the council borrowed money at 1% interest and re-lent the building to Fusion Lifestyle at a higher interest rate.
    • This is an example of an organisation with experience, vision and good community engagement.
  • Helen L stressed the need to deal with the technical demands and to populate the building.
  • Jerome T suggested a timescale: formal bids end of September, panel beginning of November 2017. But we need some clarity about this.
  • It is possible that two good bids could be asked to work together.
  • A license to occupy may be given whilst the building is made water-tight.
  • It was suggested that Helen Bone, Jerome Thomas and Judy Goldsmith meet to talk including with John Bos as appropriate.
  • Helen L stressed that collaborative input is valuable.
  • Sally S reminded us to look again at the Feasibility Study / Consultation document.
    • What were the broad themes?
  • Where is council’s view?
    • Jerome suggested a meeting with John Bos to get a view on this.
  • What is Mayor Rees’s view?
  • If the council retains the freehold they retain control, although the lease holder would have a full repairing lease.
  • Jerome T suggested we have a legal perspective. Helen Bone has some contacts.
    • Sally S has a contact at Underfall Yard (Sarah M***).
    • Judy has a contact at Bristol South Baths (Sarah Wex).
    • Sidika P suggested that a more active interest should be encouraged.
    • Sally S recognised the innovative process.
    • Helen B championed the council and communities – that this shows transparency.
  • Vivienne gave some examples of how communities work together (IT tuition).
  • Pat C emphasised that these are the sort of things this community wants and needs.
  • Offer potential bidders an evening meeting with us (mid-June 2017 – 15th mentioned).
  • Give them the option of sending us some feedback to share.

Local Learning:

  • Short introduction to the project that Ruth Myers and Lori Streich have put together.
  • Working with local heritage schools.
  • Funding from English Schools.
  • Heritage Lottery Funding – hub needs to complete the application form as a constituted group.
  • The project will involve schools and the community starting in September 2017.
  • Example given on work at Ashton Gatehouse and “Meadows to Meaders” (Southmead).
  • They have provided a brief summary with some aspects that can be used in the future.
  • Helen L said that she could also contact Cathedral School as a parent.
  • All schools were short of space.
  • Pupils at St Georges Primary School live in the area.
  • Helen B reminded us that it was important to recognise “Who is here?“ and “Who is not here?”.
    • She suggested a member of the Arts Community
    • Judy G suggested Leisure
    • Any other suggestions to Helen Bone
  • Sidika P keen to get details about our future events published through mailing list.


  • Next Friends Meeting
    Friends meeting planned for 6 July 2017 6.30-8pm (18.30-20.00) including discussion of desired and essential criteria in selection of Community Asset Transfer applicants.  (Change of date)


Jacobs Wells Baths – Duty Manager: Joel Ashley 07745 193622

For more about the Baths see our info page.