11:09 Thursday 12 December 2013

Group to form human chain to oppose plan

Written byROB SMYTH

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PROTESTORS battling against plans to build on an historic site are set to form a human chain around area to showcase their frustrations.

The Friends of the Bath Grounds are set to take the dramatic action Saturday morning in a bid to launch a campaign to protect Ashby’s Historic Bath Grounds, off Station Road, from development.

Discussions have been ongoing over the last few months by Oaklands Hotels Ltd, owners of the Royal Hotel and Bath Grounds in Ashby, who are proposing a regeneration scheme which includes the development of five large multi-storey luxury homes to be built on part of the site.

The firm wants to build five ‘grand parkland villas’ on Bath Grounds as part of a regeneration scheme.

A spokesman for the group told the Mail: “The Bath Grounds are a precious resource for the people of the town, are well used and regarded as a beauty spot right in the heart of town centre.

“Other towns envy what we have here in Ashby.

“People living in the area are very concerned at these proposals.

“We believe the site should be preserved as it is for future generations and there should be no residential building on it.

“The grounds, developed in the early 19th century as part of a spa resort known as Ivanhoe Baths, are leased to Ashby Town Council, which has 10 years remaining on the lease, with the option to renew it for a further 28 years.

“The Friends of Ashby Bath Grounds will be meeting on the bath grounds on Saturday at 11 am to start to raising awareness

“Please come along if you would like to give us your support.”

The group have described the area as the town’s ‘crown jewel’, and home to Ashby Hastings Cricket Club for more than 150 years.

Bath Grounds is currently leased to the Royal Hotel by the town council.

Ashby Town Council member Chris Smith previously said in the Mail that the council agreed in principle earlier this year to surrender its lease for the Bath Grounds, ‘despite widespread opposition in the town’.

In return, the developer has promised payment to the town council of up to £100,000 and the freehold of the remainder of the Bath Grounds.

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