Pithead baths, Forest of Dean

Anyone who wants to help should write to the Head of Planning Services, Forest of Dean District Council Council Offices, Coleford, GL16 8HG by 25th July 2008. The planning aplication number is P0718/08/FUL
PLEASE WOULD YOU HELP THE FOREST OF DEAN LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY AND MR RUSSELL BAKER IN OUR PLEA FOR A BRIEF STAY OF EXECUTION FOR THE PRINCESS ROYAL PITHEAD BATHS BUILDING WHILST THIS LATEST PROPOSAL IS AT LEAST CONSIDERED.
The Forest of Dean Local History Society has campaigned since 2002 to retain the iconic Baths building at Princess Royal, which is a lasting tribute to Forest of Dean Miners. We have supported various proposals for the re-use of the building and have met with representatives of SWRDA, English Partnerships and FODDC to further these ideas.
SWRDA have tried unsuccessfully to sell the building over the last few years and Averil recently received a letter from them informing me of the impending demolition of the building. FODLHS were sadly resigned to the fact that this would happen and were ready to work with SWRDA on the preparation of an interpretation board.
Averil then spoke to Russell Baker of Universal Railway Equipment Ltd; who works in conjunction with Network Rail and BT and occupies the site of the Princess Royal offices across the road from the baths building. He informs her that he has approached SWRDA on numerous occasions with a view to purchasing the baths building to use as a training centre for the many railway workers requiring instruction on how to use the equipment used for track laying and maintenance. He would also look to expand into training for BT engineers with regard to working with scaffolding and working at height. He feels that the baths building would make an ideal all weather training centre for training in these areas and much more. Mr Baker has all the heavy equipment required to restore the building and has knowledge of concrete cancer, which he has encountered, on the railways. He is currently three quarters of the way to restoring the Princess Royal Office block making that building into useful office space whilst retaining many of the original features such as tiling, roof structures and windows. He certainly has the expertise and knowledge to restore the baths building and as he would only use the upper floor, he intends to keep the lower levels for the bat population and with assistance from local bat authorities turn this lower level into a viewing centre for the public to view the bats via one way glass using live feed cameras. He would also like to create a small centre detailing the history of Princess Royal itself as he has many artefacts collected from the baths site, the office building and the mine itself that would make a wonderful display and a lasting tribute to the people that worked at Princess Royal. All of which would help preserve the memory of Princess Royal for future generations.
FODLHS are, therefore, requesting that Mr. Foley, Head of Regeneration at SWRDA, together with the head of Planning Services at FODDC, Bill Cronin, Conservation Officer of the FODDC, the Forestry Commission, Nick Downs, Senior Ecologist of Creswell Associates (Expert on bats), Dawn Walker of SWRDA and Ms S. Osborne the agent meet with myself and Mr Russell Baker at a time suitable to everyone to discuss the possibility of Mr. Baker purchasing the site.
Averil feels that this option would not only save would not only save SWRDA the cost of demolition but would provide a useful community and National centre for training Railway employees. She should like to ask for a brief stay of execution for the building whilst this latest proposal is at least considered. She should like to ask for your help please
Averil Kear, Conservation Officer, Forest of Dean Local History Society