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Last Updated: Monday, 31 July 2006, 06:39 GMT 07:39 UK
Timeline: Spa saga highs and lows
Bath's Thermal Spa building
The spa was due to open in 2002, but a series of rows delayed it
Bath's new thermal Spa has been 10 years in the making. As it prepares to open its doors to the public for the first time, BBC News looks back at the highs and lows along the way.

1978 - Bath's medical spa treatment centre closes amid concerns over the purity of the water source, after a woman dies of Legionnaire's disease

1980s and 1990s - Five attempts are made to reopen the thermal springs

September 1996 - Bath & North East Somerset (Banes) Council applies for lottery funding to re-establish a spa at a planned total cost of 13m

November 1997 - The Millennium Commission awards the Bath Spa Project a 7.78m grant to reopen the city's thermal waters to bathers

August 2000 - The refurbishment of five listed buildings, which make up the spa complex. begins. The cost of the project has already risen to 19m

2002 - The project is originally scheduled to open in 2002, but as the year passes, work on the site continues with no end in sight

2003

Six delays in seven months mean the spa will not be open in time for the beginning of the city's tourist season - the delays are reported to be costing Banes 30,000 per week

Steam room at Bath's Thermal Spa
Paint on the steam room walls melted in the heat

May - The spa is delayed for the eighth time, sparking fears it may not be ready for its official opening

August - The planned 'official' opening day. The Three Tenors take part in a celebratory concert, but the spa remains closed - the council says it will open in October

September - A row breaks out between the council and developer Mowlem over paint finishes in the spa pools. The cost of the spa rockets to 26m, and the opening is delayed again

October - Banes wins an injunction against Mowlem, allowing it to bring in a new firm to fix the peeling paint

2004

February - The Court of Appeal intervenes in the paint row, "to stop the Spa becoming another Millennium Dome", and forcing Mowlem to allow another contractor on to the site to repair the problem

March - Banes says resolving the paint row will cost an extra 3.4 to 4.3m, and reveals the total cost of the project is now 35m

June - The council says it is confident the complex will open in the autumn

July - Cracks appear in the spa's foundations

Work in progress at Bath's Thermal Spa
The stone floor of the pool areas had to be pulled up

September - The council learns leaks in the floor of the steam room are worse than expected

October - Vandals attack the spa, damaging glass panels which will cost 40,000 to replace

2005

January - Vandals strike again, smashing more glass wall panels and causing 120,000 damage - in the same week the council learns two new boreholes are needed to safeguard the water supply to the spa at a cost of 150,000.

Later in the month Banes agrees to plough an extra 3.5m into the project as Thermae Bath Spa is forced to lay off staff. To compound the misery, Wansdyke MP Dan Norris criticises the spa, which he says costs his constituents 116 each

February - Developer Mowlem says it will take over the Spa project, finish it and have the spa open within six months for a fixed price of 26m, but the offer is rejected.

April - The council fires Mowlem

May - Banes says the Spa is on target to open at Easter 2006 , but that its cost will rise by another 2m. New contractors Capita Symonds move into the spa as their predecessor Mowlem is charged with failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of builder Arthur Cox, who died at the spa in May 2003

The rooftop pool - with views of Bath Abbey - at the city's new spa
The spa will finally open to the public on Monday 7 August

June - Mowlem is fined 20,000 for breaching health and safety laws over the death of Arthur Cox

July - Banes acts to cut growing disenchantment with the project by offering local taxpayers tours of the incomplete spa

September - Public tours of the complex end, and a report by Capita Symonds lists a host of new problems - revealing parts of the building are already rusting

In the same month, health club entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne brands the spa a "museum to stupidity" which will only make money if it is turned into a car park

October - Thermae Bath Spa begins recruiting staff again

2006

April - Operator Thermae Bath Spa says the complex will open in June

June - BANES admits there have been delays in handing the spa over to its operators

July - The opening date for the spa is announced as a visitor centre is unveiled, but at the last minute, the council agrees to spend an extra 2.5m on finishing touches, bringing the final cost of the project to 45m

7 August - The long-awaited spa will finally open its doors to the public




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
A look inside Bath Spa



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