Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Tarlair open air pool moves closer to rescue as council is urged to approve emergency spending (and does)

It’s three years since we first noticed Tarlair open air and added a short article describing it.

Although it had been A listed back in 2007, it has to be remembered that listing is just what is says on the box, and only grant protection to the structure from development and change. It’s not funding or a magical free cash handout, not does it provide any protection from vandals and the attention others who consider themselves outside the law.

Saving such a structure still needs backers with deep pockets, and grants from the relevant sources.

By 2010 and out first article, things were becoming dubious, with a lack of awareness, and apparently more attention from vandals than supporters making it look as if the council would see filling in, or even demolition, as the only solution to a developing problem.

Since then, a group has been formed, and by the start of 2013 it was reported that thoughts of demolition, or even just filling in the pool, had been laid to rest, at least until the potential for restoration had been properly considered.

Now, it looks as if the council is set to approve a £300,000 emergency spending package, intended to stabilise the remains and make then safe until further developments can be considered, and plans to raise the estimated £2.5 million needed for a full restoration can pursued further.

I’m not sure if there’s some misunderstanding somewhere, as the comments after this article from The Scotsman have a gripe about the plan not including the boating pool being filled in, but this quote suggests it will (be filled in). Something to watch for in the detail of later updates. I looked at the only report I could find on the council web site, and it does mention this, but since the gripe does not identify the report or give a link, I could be looking at the wrong one, and have missed the one being referred to.

Stephen Archer, the council’s director of infrastructure services, states in a report to the area committee that the programme of essential repairs will demonstrate “commitment by the council to improve Tarlair and conserve the category listing, alleviate health and safety concerns, and prevent significant future maintenance costs.” The funding will also provide a platform for the potential future uses of the facility.

Mr Archer continues: “The Friends of Tarlair have been consulted and support the recommended option for essential repairs to be carried out. They feel this would be a positive step towards the future of Tarlair and demonstrate to the community the council’s willingness to fulfil their legal obligations to this unique Category A listed building.”

Members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Banff and Buchan area committee are now being urged to approve a £300,000 package of emergency spending to save the historic pool. The scheme would involve filling in the former boating pond at the site and a series of repairs to the main pool, buildings and roads.

Plans for a total refurbishment scheme are estimated to cost up to £2.5 million. A campaign group, Friends of Tarlair, was formed last year to lead efforts to restore the complex and the group has already made a Stage 1 Application for a Community Asset Transfer.

Stephen Archer, the council’s director of infrastructure services, states in a report to the area committee that the programme of essential repairs will demonstrate “commitment by the council to improve Tarlair and conserve the category listing, alleviate health and safety concerns, and prevent significant future maintenance costs.” The funding will also provide a platform for the potential future uses of the facility.

Mr Archer continues: “The Friends of Tarlair have been consulted and support the recommended option for essential repairs to be carried out. They feel this would be a positive step towards the future of Tarlair and demonstrate to the community the council’s willingness to fulfil their legal obligations to this unique Category A listed building.”

Via Tarlair open air pool to be saved from ruin – Heritage – Scotsman.com

I’m almost tempted to mention the comments that follow the article, as they are so sad and do little to help the cause of the pool. Comments seem to be becoming a place for folk to gripe at one another, or twist stories round to make some convoluted political point, rather than expand on the story they follow.

I was also about to add a link to some nice atmospheric pics I found in Flickr, but it’s (ie Flickr) now such pile of cack since it was relaunched a few days ago, I’m not going to dignify the mess by pointing at it.

Update

Following the council meeting mentioned above, Aberdeenshire councillors approved the £300,000 spend on essential repairs to preserve the open air pool, as an emergency spending package.

According to the follow-up article referenced below, the filling in of the boating pool was again listed as one of the actions, together with repairs to the main pool, building, and roads, intended to address conservation of the site, and legitimate health and safety concerns.

In addition, it was noted that the group which has been raising funds to support the pool has also submitted a Stage 1 application for Community Asset Transfer, and this is also being considered.

Via A-listed Tarlair art deco pool revamp approved – Visual Arts – Scotsman.com

Update

As per the comment below, contractors started work on the pool during Q1 of 2014, preparing for a full start in spring, once the risk of storm and bad weather had passed.

May 26, 2013 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , | 1 Comment

Tarlair open air pool escapes council’s attempts to fill it in

It’s almost three years since we first ran a small feature on the surviving (mostly) open air pool at Tarlair, located on the northeastern coast of Scotland, near Macduff, and which first opened in the 1930s, when such places enjoyed wide popularity as those inspired by such things as the (Women’s) League for Health and Beauty sought healthy outdoor activities. Although the League is no longer, it lives on in The Fitness League — The Fitness League History.

There doesn’t seem to have been much progress in restoring the site, and it looks to the cynical eye as if the local council decided to have some of it filled in, possibly to gain some Brownie Points for “Making a decision and doing something positive… or working to remove a decaying eyesore”, or just make it harder for those who might keep fighting for its restoration and/or preservation.

If so, the idea has backfired, temporarily at least, and the renewed interest generated by the suggestion of filling in parts the site has led to that plan being thrown out… at least for as long as it takes to evaluate the cost of a full restoration.

Via: Reprieve for Tarlair outdoor pool ahead of investigation

Tarlair tidal outdoor pool

Tarlair tidal outdoor pool © Anne Burgess

Anyone interested in the restoration of the pool can find many more relevant links in the original post.

January 29, 2013 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , | Leave a comment

Tarlair art deco tidal open air swimming pool

I would have to admit that the only “arty” things that really catch my eye are usually related to to the art deco style, and to some extent that suits me, because there are those who do not even accept that it is a style, or was a movement in its day.

It’s even better when the style is paired with something substantial and tangible, such as architecture, and one of the realisations of such a combination was the open air, or outdoor, swimming pool which was a feature of the years around the 1930s. In their day, they were considered to be very fashionable, and many people met at them.

Although many such pools were built, nearly all have been lost, having been abandoned, demolished or vandalised over the years, and you read further about some of them in this listing of tidal salt-water seaside swimming pools, by Oliver Merrington.

Tarlair Open Air Swimming Pool is one such example, located on the northeastern coast of Scotland, near Macduff. Opened in the 1930s, it was built in the art deco style, but was also modified over the years. I was operated by Banff and Buchan District Council until 1996, when it was finally closed, although it is reported to have later been used for open air concerts and a youth forum. The Macduff Model Boat Club has also been said to use it during the summer.

Back in 2007, the pool was granted category A-listed status because of its architectural and historic importance. Although this gives it legal protection, it doesn’t provide any funding, and the pool has been subject to attack through vandalism, and nature, as storms batter the structure with debris thrown from the sea, and the site nor features on the Buildings at Risk register: Tarlair Swimming Pool Complex, SCT Ref No 3421, Aberdeenshire.

Three years after it was listed, local councillors have finally met to assess possible options for the site, which includes development as a major tourist attraction (perhaps with one eye on the Scottish Government’s decree that Scottish tourism be increased by 50% by 2015), and have brought in consultants to carry out a study, with funding of £80,000.

Tarlair tidal outdoor pool

Tarlair tidal outdoor pool © Anne Burgess

March 4, 2010 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , | 2 Comments

   

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