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Ashton Baths back in the swim with first tenants
Thursday 1st June 2017 @ 16:09 by Nigel P.
Ashton Business Community News

The iconic Ashton Baths, Tameside’s “Italianate jewel” which dates from 1870, has finally secured its first occupants

Tameside Council handed over the building last month to flexible workspace operator, Oxford Innovation.

The conversion of the grade 2 listed baths includes a wooden office pod, installed in the centre of the grand former bathing hall. The pod itself is made up of 6,000 sq ft of offices and is supported by 4,000 sq ft of meeting rooms and break out space.

Ashton Old Baths, which is in Henry Square on Stamford Street West, was built in 1870 in the Italianate style.

It functioned as a pool until 1975 and then lay derelict until 2013 when Tameside Council and Place First secured funding from the European Regional Development Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund to restore and renovate the building.

According to Oxford Innovation, design, events, media and technology companies have already let 50% of the available space. These five companies are expected to move into the building in the next couple of months.

The pod inside the original victorian building

Robin Monk, Tameside Council Executive Director of Place said: “We are delighted with the work Oxford Innovation have done in securing new and exciting businesses since being appointed to manage Ashton Old Baths. The Council has worked alongside partners to regenerate the landmark building to a modern and inspiring space for new businesses to thrive while keeping its history and heritage. We look forward to seeing Tameside’s creative and digital economy grow and welcoming new businesses over the coming months.”

John McIlroy and Nick Hilditch from the Events company Zestme have secured space in the building and said in a joint statement: “As a creative events management company we didn’t just want any office to grow our business – we wanted an innovative, truly iconic space with a creative community to work in.”

The restored building was originally opened in March last year  to great fanfare including a spectacular sound and light show.

Initially, despite the support from local digital businesses around Ashton there was a  slow uptake on business occupancy and in January of this year  ‘The Reporter’ had to write that the building’s windows were being targeted by  vandals.

Now with the building’s precincts  being occupied with an expected high footfall of  users, security should not be an issue.

The project which has retained the integrity of the original Italianate building while adding breathtaking innovative design is bound to attract companies wanting to capitalise on the centre’s stunning looks and facilities.

The centre’ s proximity to both the motorway network and Ashton town centre shops and restaurants should go far in making Ashton Baths a highly desirable business address and meeting destination.

Last year the building was being considered as a candidate for building of the year by the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.

It is understood that Oxford Innovation will operate the centre on behalf of Tameside Council who will retain ownership of the building.