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Council secures future of Health Hydro with £1.5 million pound investment

Swindon Borough Council has put more than £1m into one of the town’s most treasured heritage assets.

Published: Tuesday, 10th March 2020

The Health Hydro, on Milton Road, has benefited from a £1.5m Council investment which will go towards building maintenance works as well as improved services and facilities for customers.

The facility, which is operated by charitable enterprise GLL and housed within a Victorian building, contains a 33m swimming pool, a gym, a weekly fitness class programme and the iconic Turkish baths.

It is anticipated that the £1.5m investment will enable the renovation of the Turkish baths, upgrading the fitness facilities, installing new changing rooms for the swimming pool and improving shared work spaces.

Behind the scenes crucial maintenance will also be carried out, such as upgrades to the Hydro’s electrical and heating systems. New energy efficient lighting will also be installed throughout the building.

Alongside the investment, the building’s listing has recently been upgraded, with its Grade II designation becoming Grade II*, which recognises its high level of historic and architectural interest and puts it within the top eight per cent of listed buildings in the country.

Through the Swindon Heritage Action Zone (HAZ), experts at Historic England will provide additional funding to improve the external appearance and signage of the Health Hydro as well as contributing heritage expertise to ensure the improvements celebrate the building’s special character.

Councillor Keith Williams, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Operational Excellence, said: “I am pleased to announce this significant investment for an important and well-loved building which has also had its listing upgraded.

“This Council is committed to protecting its heritage assets and we are confident that this will be money extremely well spent.”

Josh Roper, GLL’s Partnership Manager for Swindon, said: “We feel hugely positive about the next five years and the enhancements we will be able to make to the Hydro.

“Where possible we will be looking to honour the building’s fantastic history and really celebrating what is a much-loved Swindon landmark.

“The new investment will enable us to upgrade the reception area, the gym and studio spaces, along with making the existing office spaces more attractive to potential corporate tenants.”

Rebecca Barrett, Regional Director at Historic England South West, said: “Swindon’s Health Hydro is a rare and important building, much loved by residents and visitors. It’s wonderful news that Swindon Borough Council has committed this funding to give it a new lease of life.

“The Hydro is a remarkably advanced health and welfare facility, pre-dating the first NHS health centres by 50 years, and its Turkish baths are the oldest to survive in continuous use in the country. The building is firmly rooted in the fabric and story of the Railway Village, constructed from materials made by the Great Western Works.

“We’re delighted that its repair – a key project in the Heritage Action Zone – will soon get underway.”

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