County Councillor candidate for Lewes Bridge and Ringmer, Belinda Chapman, is involved in the campaign to keep the old Turkish baths in Friars Walk in community hands.
In 1862, the Lewes Bath Association opened the Turkish Baths for the enjoyment of local residents in the hope of restoring their health and strength. They were luxuriously warm in the days when homes were freezing in winter. The price for a bath was calculated to meet the income of all townsfolk. The Association shareholders saw themselves as providing a true public service, never expecting a return on their investment. But the baths were superseded by Brighton’s and then fell out of fashion. Fast forward 150 years and Lewes District Council took control, setting up a printing service benefiting Community Groups. But the print service has been relocated and the building is now empty and increasingly becoming dilapidated.
The Tory Government’s established policy of destroying local council budgets, enforcing the sell-off of many local assets, has now resulted in Lewes District Council having to consider the sale of the current lease of this building.
This, we believe, will go to the highest offer from a private restaurateur at a rent so substantial that local, small traders cannot afford. Local people have come forward with lots of different ideas to turn it once again into a thriving hub for the benefit of our community, from restoring it as a Turkish Bath to an open workshop for everyone to learn practical skills resulting in opportunities for employment.
Please join the campaign to restore this precious piece of our history and place it back into the heart of our vibrant, creative town.
Belinda is a keen proponent of Play Streets and has been talking to residents and liaising with Judy Mackerras of the District council over the last year on how Lewes and beyond can organise them. Now the legal framework is up and running and Belinda is encouraging all residents to get their streets involved!
If you want to help Belinda with her ESCC election campaign or discuss any of the issues above, she can be contacted HERE