Ending soon for England's famous spa, but at a cost:
Almost unbelievably, the "national embarrassment" that is Bath Spa is about to open. Again. On Monday, residents of the city will be able to take the waters for the first time in 30 years.
.... when the doors of Thermae Bath Spa open to 2,500 booked customers next week - and the owners promise that they will - frayed tempers can finally seek solace in mineral-rich whirlpools, massages, or perhaps an "aromatic moor mud wrap".
For the £45 million spa is not, as in Roman times, a place simply to take a soak ....
"The Romans would not have come here if it wasn't for the springs, and for 1,200 years residents were able to use them. They have been deprived for so long and now they are reunited."
But not everyone is so romantic about a project that began in 1996, when the council secured an £8 million grant from the Millennium Commission for the project, which it said would cost only £13.5 million.
It hopes to recoup some of the losses, as well as defend its own actions, in a £20 million court battle with the sacked contractor, Mowlem. And the local government minister Phil Woolas is to ask the Audit Commission for an official inquiry.
...."Admittedly the Romans had slaves, but my constituents are going to be slaves to council tax because of this for years to come. The spa is not only a local embarrassment, it is a national and international embarrassment."
Thursday, August 03, 2006
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