Historic Heath Town Baths and Library, a Grade II listed building in Tudor Road, has lain empty and unused since 2003, with the council-owned property becoming a regular target for vandals and potential looters.
Wolverhampton North East MP Jane Stevenson visited the site last week and discovered masonry had been taken from the building’s roof and loaded onto pallets, ready for collection by would-be thieves.
She said: “I’ve been speaking to local residents who have watched people push these stones off the roof. It’s really important that we value our heritage in the city and don’t let buildings that are Grade II listed get into this state.
“This baths is such a beautiful bit of Heath Town, with the almshouses and the church next to it, and I really want to get something done. This building has sat here for 16-17 years decaying.”
Council workers were called out to repair fencing at the site which has now been fully secured.
Following Miss Stevenson’s appeal to renovate and reopen the much-loved building for use as a valuable community asset, council bosses this week revealed ambitious development plans.
Cabinet member for city economy, Councillor Stephen Simkins said: “City of Wolverhampton Council has worked hard to line up a private-led scheme, which has strong community support, for this historic site.
“The council’s cabinet-approved Gaddu Associates is its preferred developer to sensitively bring the former Heath Town Baths and Library back into use.
“We continue to hold regular talks with Gaddu Associates and support them in developing their proposal for the refurbishment of the Grade-II listed building into a multipurpose conference/wedding/banqueting centre, with associated community uses.
“Unfortunately, Covid-19 has held up progress on a funding bid Gaddu Associates’ has made to an independent organisation for the project. The council continues to support them with this bid.
“Heath Town Baths and Library has been identified as a building of community value through the Heathfield Park Neighbourhood Plan, and we are working hard with ward councillors to achieve the very best for Heath Town,” he added.
“We do not condone trespassing of any sort and any suspicious activity should be reported to the police in the first instance. We will be strengthening security at the site.
“The council is eager to see the historic building put back into beneficial use to bring vibrancy to the wider area.”
The building was designed by borough surveyor and engineer H. B. Robinson and opened on December 16, 1932. Heath Town Swimming Club, which won several international competitions in the 1940s-50s, was based at the baths.