This was the website of the campaign to save Victoria Leisure Centre in Nottingham from closure.


The new centre has now been open 2 months and in that time I’ve been, on average, three times a week to either swim, use the gym or the health suite.  And contrary to all my expectations, I love it.  The pool is a joy to swim in.  It retains the sense of space and air of the old Gala pool and by having vistas of the market place at one end and an open view of the sky, brings the outside in.  It’s wider than the Gala pool and thankfully the dubious notion of a moveable floor didn’t make it onto the plans so there is a lovely shelf plunging down to the deep end.  Thanks to the UV treatment of the water, chlorination is weak and the pool feels very welcoming to swim in.

The Health Suite is far smaller than the old Turkish and (I’ve been told) can get very crowded although on the times I’ve been this hasn’t been so.  Whilst there are no hot rooms, the sauna and steam room are both spacious and well put together with lovely twinkling lights.  There are plenty of seats and loungers and the suite manages to recreate the feeling of a place apart, something that was so beloved of the old Turkish.  It’s great to see the old groups of users return to inhabit the Suite and make it their own.

The gym is a far cry from the valiant effort created by the former staff in the face of Council disinterest.  It’s spacious, rammed full of new equipment with plenty to go round (thus cutting down of waiting times), air conditioned and again incorporating magnificent views of the market place. 

The Danielle Becan room is everything the old Bedford Room should have been and although not a replacement for the old Sports Hall is again a great room.

Finally, the common areas of the building are clean, spacious and light and the clock tower, complete with its working bell, is simply beautiful.  There is a sense of pride in the new building from those who are working there.

This is not to say that the campaign’s concerns were misplaced.  I believe all this could have achieved by renewing the old facilities; and what’s more such an imaginative scheme would have retained the character and social history of the building now gone.  Whilst there has been much made by the Council of its willingness to ‘listen to the people’ when talking about the new Centre, it should be remembered that the centre bears witness to the political guile of the Area 6 Councillors.  Using the Save Victoria Baths campaign as a cover, they saw an opportunity to demolish a large building which occupied potentially valuable real estate.  To do this, they were prepared to ignore the will of the people as evidenced in the consultations they themselves conducted, and to take facilities away from the community - there is less swimming space, no badminton courts, no squash courts and a much smaller health suite.

However, we should now look forward to protecting and nurturing this new facility so that it will serve the community for another hundred years.  As a campaign we set three aims: to preserve as much as possible of the original building / functions, especially the important historical elements of the former building and respectfully incorporate these into any new facilities; to provide a minimal gap in leisure provision for the east of the city while the new facilities were built; and finally, to ensure that this investment provided a high quality, long-term and sustainable solution with the potential to service the east of the city for another 100 years to come.  We won a victory.  To all those who stood in the cold collecting signatures, who marched, who wrote letters and who attended hours of tedious Council meetings - well done!


Only the Government can Save the Baths now 20 May 2010 >
Vote for the Candidate who will Save the Baths 6 May 2010 >
Hundreds Marched to Save the Baths March 2010 >
Victoria Leisure Centre to close in weeks February 2010 >
Prevent the Council from Demolishing Victoria Baths 15 March 2009 >
Designs for the new Victoria Leisure Centre unveiled 5 January 2009 >
Shocking Discovery About The True Cost of the Victoria Leisure Centre 13 November 2008 >
New Survey Shows Majority Want To Make The Existing Victoria Leisure Centre Better 1 November 2008 >
Architects Appointed To Develop Leisure Centre and Brook Street Site 22 October 2008 >
Council Move The Goalposts 20 October 2008 >
The Council Is Trying To Sideline The Campaign Group 28 September 2008>
Working Group Formed 24 June 2008 >
What Happened Before? Update 31 March 2008 >


At a deeply depressing meeting this week, the Council approved plans to rebuild the Victoria Leisure Centre. The only thing that now stands between the Baths and the wrecking ball is Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles MP. As the Baths are in a Conservation area the Council cannot demolish them without his permission. If we can pursaude Mr Pickles to decline permission the Council will be forced back to the negotiating table. We can then begin to press our case once more for the Leisure Centre we have all asked for - a complete renewal of the existing facilities.

We have to bombard Mr Pickles with letters and emails before FRIDAY MAY 28th asking him to delay any demolition.

The argument is very simple. The Council has no democratic mandate to go ahead with their plans. It was not in their manifesto. It is not what was asked for in the consultations, where the over-whelming response (80%) was to keep the existing centre but to improve it and where the majority voted the design option which retained most of the existing facilities and not the Council's preferred option. This important local issue needs to put before an electorate next year. Any development must be postponed until after the forthcoming local elections.

Please send your emails to and copy in Bob Neill

Please send your letters to Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eland House, Bressenden Place, London SW1E 5DU

This really is the last stand for our Leisure Centre. If each one of us sends one email, the better our chances are of getting the Leisure Centre we all asked for. If Mr Pickles grants permission it is all over.

Thanks as ever for your continued support.


The national election is on May 6th and the campaign wants the Nottingham East MP to be right behind our efforts to save the baths. Of the candidates, the LIB-DEMS (Sam Boote) and the CONSERVATIVES (Ewan Lamont) have gone as far as to make a campaign promise in writing to refurbish rather than demolish the Victoria Leisure Centre. The LABOUR candidate (Chris Leslie) has not yet given this assurance.


Hundreds marched in protest at the Council's plans to close the Centre before anyone has even seen their plans to demolish and rebuild it, and on 8 February 2010 a petition of 3464 signatures (collected in just three weeks!) along with 233 letters was handed to the Council asking them to keep the Centre open until planning permission has been granted for any new development.

But the Council has simply ignored us all! In response to the mass demonstrations and petitioning which reflects the tremendous outpouring of anger at the closure of the Baths, the Council has not bothered to issue a formal reply. Instead, the Campaign has received an attempted Facebook message(!) from Councillor Jon Collins.

Please click here to read his message and our response >


The Council is trying to close Victoria Leisure Centre on 31 March 2010, despite having no approved plans for development and no planning permission to demolish what is already there.  If they succeed, the current Leisure Centre will be lost forever and the local community will have nowhere to go.

The Council must be persuaded to change their mind!


15 March 2009

Please sign our petition to prevent the Council from demolishing Victoria Baths >

It is getting towards crunch time - Tuesday 7 April 2009 7pm at the Committee Room of the Council House - when Nottingham City Council's Executive Board will vote on which of the three design options for the new Victoria Leisure Centre they'll develop.

We fear that the Council are firmly behind Option C which offers the least amount of facilities and will see virtually all of the building destroyed! We are urgently asking people to write to or visit their Councillors to ask them to support Option A, which offers the most facilities for the cheapest cost and is the most environmentally friendly of the three designs. You can also come to the meeting and speak!

Click here the Campaign’s response to Option C (contains vital information you may wish information you may wish to mention to your Councillor or bring up at the Area 6 meeting - SUMMARY) >

Click here the Campaign’s response to Option C (contains vital information you may wish information you may wish to mention to your Councillor or bring up at the Area 6 meeting - MORE DETAIL) >


5 January 2009

On Monday 5 January 2009, Nottingham City Council unveiled three proposals for the new Victoria Leisure Centre designed by the architects Levitate. You can download the three different proposals as PDF files below and have your say on which you like the best.

The proposals are presented as a starting point for debate, so please take the time to look over them all and let the council know your views. Feel free to pick your favourite elements from each design and let the council know why. We only have until Friday 6 March 2009 to respond. Please download the Save Victoria Baths campaign group's response to the proposals, to give you an idea of our thoughts and to let you know exactly who to address your comments to. You can also download the results of our public survey conducted straight after the designs were unveiled. This is a very important chance to have your say!

Download our response to the proposals > (PDF 0.06 MB)
Download all Levitate's proposals and an introduction to their approach > (PDF 6.9 MB)
Download our design survey results 5 January 2009 >(PDF 0.06 MB)


13 November 2008

The campaign has discovered that the Condition Surveys, used by the Council to justify the attempted closure of the VLC, provide an outline cost of around £2m for a complete refurbishment to achieve a good condition of building and services, a properly constructed roof to ensure longevity, and a redesigned interior to meet current customer expectations. This compares very favourably to other examples of refurbished Victorian Baths.

This is what many of us who marched earlier this year want.  We would like to know:


1 November 2008

On Saturday 1 November , braving the wind & cold, campaign stalwarts Tom & Fidel set up shop at Sneinton Market to give people a chance to voice their opinions on whether they’d rather an all-new purpose built leisure centre, or whether they’d rather save the best bits of the existing building whilst making it more modern.

In total, 92% of those surveyed said they’d rather save the best bits of the existing building whilst making it more modern.

The campaign posed this question to clarify the results of the Tell Us Your View survey undertaken by the Council in March 08 , where 80% wished to keep the existing facilities and 93% of those surveyed would rather see Nottingham City Council put the money they promised into making VLC better.

Download a full analysis of the results >


22 October 2008

In October this year, London based architects, Levitate were appointed to produce an Options and Feasibility Study for the redevelopment of the Victoria Leisure Centre and the adjoining cleared site on Brook Street. The Options and Feasibility study will examine how the site could be redeveloped to provide a new leisure facility, to include a swimming pool, within a mix of other uses that will encourage the regeneration of this area. This study will put forward 3 options for the Council to consider.

The Campaign would like to know: 


20 October 2008

The Council has just announced that they are committed to “replacing the old centre with a new swimming pool, that would form part of the major redevelopment scheme for the Sneinton Market and Eastside area."

However, in March the Executive Board “confirmed their earlier decision to close the centre"...and..."committed to providing a replacement facility either on the existing site, at the new Eastside Academy or elsewhere locally on the east side of the city".

Why the change of heart?

Download the answer the Council would rather you didn’t know >

Now would be a great time for a Local Authority to take advantage of the downturn in the construction industry to refurbish the Baths to a high standard but cheaply using the money that they have already pledged (if they have any cash left at all after the Icelandic adventures, that is). All the effort going in to trying to make clever, complex deals could instead by focussed on how to use the immense amount of community energy invested in the Baths to ensure their successful long term future management: Development Trust, anyone?


28 September 2008

The Council is trying to sideline the campaign group by saying it's listening and working in partnership but in fact doing the opposite.

We spent long hours during May, June & July meeting with the Council to agree an Architect's brief for the new developments at the Victoria Leisure Centre but the brief that went out missed several key elements:  that there must be 2 pools, and that there must one reception area with excellent connectivity to the Market place. It was pushed out over the summer holidays whilst people were away.

We are becoming convinced that the Council want to maximise the amount of commercial development on the market side (it is the only commercially viable frontage to the combined site) and rebuild the Vic Baths on the Brook St site as a bland 'McLeisure Centre'. This is why they are dead against refurbishment. 

The Council simply say that they are ruling nothing in or out; but if that's the case, why do they refuse to reveal any of the condition surveys done on the building (which was the original reason they wanted to shut the Baths - it was "too decrepit") and why did they fix the Brief so as to invite schemes which would do exactly what we fear?


24 June 2008

Three members of the Save Victoria Baths campaign have been put forward to join the newly formed Victoria Leisure Centre Working Group, and to work closely alongside Nottingham City Council and representatives of other local groups to develop plans for the new leisure centre.

The Working Group has drawn up a brief which was used to commission a London based architectural practise, Levitate to put forward a feasibility study which will recommend 3 options to the Council. Levitate, in partnership with TANC have recently held their first public consultation event in order to gain an insight into what is wanted by the community.

Chair - Ken Williams, councillor Dales ward

Nottingham City Council representatives:

Save Victoria Baths representatives:
Other representatives:


31 March 2008

The Save Victoria Baths campaign was launched on Friday 8 February 2008, following Nottingham City Council's announcement of their proposal to close the much-loved, 150 year old city centre leisure facility. On Tuesday 19 February the Council's Executive Board voted for the closure of the Leisure Centre in principle. Following this vote, they allowed for a month long period of consultation with local residents and Leisure Centre users before making their final decision. During this period they received an overwhelming response in opposition to their proposal including over 1300 emails, letters and feedback forms, a petition hand-signed by nearly 4000 and an online petition signed by 1432.

Then on Tuesday 18 March 2008 Nottingham City Council’s Executive Board met again to make their final decision on the future of Victoria Leisure Centre. This meeting saw two major successes for the campaign to Save Victoria Baths: first and foremost, they announced that the Leisure Centre would not close at Easter as was originally proposed. The Council then granted a further nine months (until the end of the year) for proposals to be drawn up for new leisure facilities. In addition, Nottingham City Council pledged to invest £7 million in these new facilities for the east of the city.

Nottingham City Council's statement 18 March 2008 >
Nottingham City Council press release about the closure 8 February 2008 >
Nottingham City Council Q & A about the closure 8 February 2008 >