A-listed Tarlair art deco pool revamp approved

Tarlair swimming pool, which has been closed for 18 years. Picture: Contributed
Tarlair swimming pool, which has been closed for 18 years. Picture: Contributed
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ABERDEENSHIRE councillors today approved plans to spend £300,000 on essential repairs to safeguard the future of a decaying art deco swimming pool complex - granted Category-A listed status because of its outstanding architectural and historic importance.

• A neglected A-listed art deco swimming pool is set to be revamped

• Aberdeenshire councillors plan to spend £300,000 on essential repairs

• Closed since 1995, Tarlair facility hailed as “one of the forgotten architectural gems of Scotland”

In its heyday, the Tarlair open air swimming pool complex on the outskirts of Macduff was the last word in outdoor leisure.

But, since it closed 1995, Tarlair - hailed as “one of the forgotten architectural gems of Scotland” - has become a derelict eyesore and is now on the “high risk” list of Scotland’s Buildings at Risk Register.

Members of Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee today approved the emergency spending package to save the historic pool. The scheme will involve filling in the former boating pond at the site and a series of repairs to the main pool, buildings and roads.

A council spokeswoman said: “Despite its poor state of repair, the pool remains popular with visitors and the Friends of Tarlair community group has been fundraising for the pool. The group has also submitted a Stage 1 application for Community Asset Transfer, which is currently being assessed by officers.

“At today’s committee meeting, members approved outline proposals for essential repairs to the pool complex, at an estimated cost of £300,000, demonstrating the council’s commitment to Tarlair Swimming Pool and conserving the facility’s category A listing.”

She added: “The work will also provide a platform for potential future uses of the facility, prevent significant maintenance costs in the future and alleviate any current health and safety concerns. The Policy and Resources Committee also asked for a further report from officers on the feasibility of taking on any other work to the pool in the future.”

The large outdoor swimming pool, boating pond and art deco tea pavilion first opened in 1931. John Miller, the architect, who was also the burgh surveyor for Macduff, designed the pool’s outer wall to be fractionally below high-tide level, enabling waves to roll in over the edge, refilling it with clean sea water twice a day. Tarlair was first outdoor baths in Scotland to be granted Category-A listed status when it was recognised for its outstanding architectural and historic importance in 2007.

The Buildings at Risk Register states: “It is one of only three known surviving seaside outdoor swimming pool complexes in Scotland, and certainly the one that best retains its original appearance. The other examples are Stonehaven (1934, listed at category B), which was never tidal, and Gourock, which has been greatly altered and is no longer tidal.”

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Tarlair open air pool to be saved from ruin