At a public meeting this week, Buxton Crescent & Thermal Spa announced vital updates to the restoration project of the Grade I listed building – due to open as a luxury 80-bedroom hotel, spa and visitor experience in 2019.
The meeting held at the University of Derby attracted over 120 members of the public and various members of the Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust, Vinci Construction UK and other specialist consultants who presented essential updates on the project and were on hand to answer questions.
James Berresford, Chair of Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust, opened the meeting. “We’re so grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund – which has made this project possible. Thank you to HLF and thank you to everyone who has bought lottery tickets”.
Unprecedented structural challenges
Cary Hadfield and Andrew Ryan attended from Vinci Construction UK, who have been on site since March 2016. Many structural problems have have been faced along the way due to the age and construction of the original building. Cary Hadfield gave an interesting insight into the hugely challenging structural issues, “We needed to make sure that the building was made safe and would last for future generations and the scale of this project has been immense – for example major timber repairs have taken place throughout the building. The West Pavilion was at the point of collapse and the work carried out here was so incredibly demanding, we never expected this. The steelworks in the Natural Baths needed to be carefully restored and cleaned – this is going to look fantastic when it’s completed”.
“The level of expertise of the structural engineering that has taken place at the Crescent can not be underestimated. People don’t see what happens inside, the work that has been taking place in this building is incredible”.
Andrew Ryan discussed finer details about the interior design and stone work. ”Stone from Stanton Moor has been used to repair chipped and damaged stone detail – the same stone the Georgians used when the building was first constructed – the same stone used at Chatsworth”.
The interior details have been no less challenging, “The ornate plaster work inside is a feat in itself to ensure new and restored cornices and freezes match exactly. The University of Lincoln are working on restoring panels and creating replicas. They look fantastic”.
“Exact replicas of tiles have been made to match the current ones – you won’t be able to tell the difference when it’s completed”.
Events programme and public access
Richard Tuffrey, Specialist advisor to the project, talked about the future – once the hotel was open. “The building will be open for tours and a number of rooms in the Crescent be available as part of this.”
“60 days per year, the Crescent will host special events. In addition, for a few days per year, there will be public access to possibly 2 bedrooms – recreated as they once were in Georgian times”.
There was a short Q&A session following the presentations.
Will there be tours or a preview for locals or press, prior to the grand opening?
Jonathan Dawson, General Manager at hotel said that may be a possibility.
How will the spa aspect of the hotel take shape? Will locals be able to use facilities?
Jonathan Dawson said, “This will be a true spa hotel, similar to many of the other spa hotels in the Danubius group in Eastern Europe. There will be a truly authentic spa experience and a modern take on what we once had on offer in Buxton. It will be only 1 of 2 thermal spa hotels in the country (The other is the Royal Crescent in Bath). There will be a special arrangement for Derbyshire residents and they will have access to use the spa facilities as a day spa.”
What will happen at the front of the hotel – what will it look like?
“The front of the hotel will have a water feature once again in the forecourt”, said James Beresford.
Will students be involved in the hotel in any way to link with the University of Derby?
James Beresford said, “Absolutely. We already have an established partnership and close relationship with the University of Derby so will use students where we can for new projects and there will be involvement with the Visitor Experience”.
Liz Mackenzie, Engagement & Events Manager at the Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust closed the evening by thanking the panel and the public for attending and announced further events are planned in the The Pump Room for 2019. “I’m pleased to announce there will be more events taking place next year in The Pump room – our website will be updated shortly with the full programme – and there’s something for everyone”. The Pump Room will also house the Buxton Tourist Information Centre from 1st January 2019, when it moves from its current home at the Pavilion Gardens.
What will the impact of the project be on Buxton?
The hotel, spa and Crescent Experience will have a positive economic impact on Buxton and the surrounding area. The project will create in excess of 140 permanent jobs, 350 construction related jobs and many more permanent jobs indirectly resulting in a boost to the local economy by over £4.5m. The restoration of the Crescent is already attracting national media interest and international tourism interest both of which will help raise the profile of the town and area.
Where is the outdoor pool and as a local resident or visitor can I use the pool and spa?
Construction of the new pool to the rear of the Crescent is now well underway. The pool and the spa will be available for all residents and visitors to use. There will be a special arrangement for Derbyshire residents to use the spa facilities.
For more information about the Buxton Crescent & Thermal Spa and to keep up to date the the latest news and events, go to: www.buxtoncrescenttrust.org