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A bright new future for Newcastle’s City Hall and City Pool
Two Newcastle landmarks have been given a new lease of life as they transfer from the council to new operators Fusion Lifestyle Ltd. Newcastle City Council has now granted a lease for the City Hall and the City Pool to Fusion Lifestyle Ltd.
Fusion plan to renovate the City Pool building, turning it into a unique health and wellbeing destination for people visiting, living and working in Newcastle. Their plans will include the restoration of the historic Turkish baths.
Fusion have sub-leased the City Hall to the Newcastle Theatre Royal Trust who will continue to operate it as a concert and entertainment venue. Council staff who work at the City Hall are now employed by the Theatre Royal Trust, where all staff will work across both venues.
Tony Durcan, Assistant Director of Customers, Culture and Skills, who led negotiations on behalf of the council said: “This has been a long and complex negotiation, but we have been excited by the proposal which has been put forward by Fusion Lifestyle Limited and the Theatre Royal Trust.This deal represents great value for money for local taxpayers, and will secure the future of these historic city landmarks for generations to come.”
Peter Kay, Chief Executive of Fusion Lifestyle, said: “Fusion Lifestyle is proud to be working on the regeneration of the City Pool and Turkish Baths and today’s announcement by Newcastle City Council is another step towards seeing our ambitious plans come to fruition. It is fantastic to see the future of the City Pool secured and Newcastle City Hall in such good hands under the guardianship of the Theatre Royal Trust.”
Chief Executive of the Newcastle Theatre Royal Trust, Philip Bernays, said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for the audiences of two of Newcastle’s most historic and much loved buildings, as we bring them together into an even bigger and better whole. We are delighted to have been working with Newcastle City Council and Fusion Lifestyle to ensure this transition is seamless; both the Theatre Royal and City Hall will continue to put on a wide and wonderful array of top shows, ensuring their place at the forefront of entertainment for the people of Newcastle and the North East. From today the two venues’ Box Office systems will be integrated and the City Hall’s website will redirect customers to the Theatre Royal site from where they can purchase tickets for both venues’ shows. More information is available at www.theatreroyal.co.uk”
The announcement was also welcomed by the City Hall Action Group, whose Chair, Tony Stephenson, said: "We're very pleased to see that this deal with Fusion and the Trust means the City Hall will continue as a viable music venue in the future. We wish the Theatre Royal Trust every success in their new venture and will be happy to contribute constructively in any way that ensures this new arrangement is a success."
Cait Read, of Re-open Newcastle Turkish Baths and City Pool Group, said: “We are delighted that the lease has been confirmed by Newcastle City Council with Fusion Lifestyle to re-open Newcastle Turkish Baths and City Pool as affordable and accessible leisure facilities. Fusion share our vision and have the experience and resources to manage the historic restoration of the Turkish Baths and renewal of facilities within the City Pool. We are excited to continue to be involved in the future of the building, to ensure that it re-opens as a valuable resource for the people of Newcastle and an attraction to people visiting the city.”
Newcastle City Council originally announced the potential closure of the City Pool as part of its budget plans in 2012. The City Hall has continued to operate commercially as a separate entity.
The City Hall, City Pool and Vine Lane School complex were marketed by the council’s agents Sanderson Weatherall in February 2015. Bids were invited for the entire complex or parts of it. Five bids were received to run the whole or part of the City Hall and Pools site. At its meeting on 23 September 2015 Cabinet identified Fusion Lifestyle Ltd a preferred supplier. The granting of a lease now concludes the process. Transfer of ownership has now taken place. Public consultation on future plans and designs for the City Pool site is expected to begin in May 2016. Fusion lifestyle are targeting the spring of 2018 for the refurbished complex to be open for business.