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Former jail in England poised to become a themed luxury spa

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Former jail cells in the basement of the Grade II-listed County Hall in Aylesbury’s Market Square, UK, may be transformed into treatment rooms if plans for a luxury spa get the go ahead from the local authority.

Contractors Bensons Commercial have been brought in to complete the project for Bucks County Council as part of the local authority’s plan to boost the town’s tourism potential, according to bucksherald.co.uk.

The upper levels of the building, which dates back to the 1700s, are used by the crown court and there will be no change to this arrangement under the plans.

Project lead officer of Bensons, David Pearce, said: “These cells are just the right size for treatment rooms and although you might think that it’s going to take a leap of imagination, there’s not a huge amount of work that we need to do to this to tidy it up.

"We want to keep all the old brickwork and paint it a flat matt white. When we decorate the pipes it’ll be in black. All the wires will be hidden in steel tubes and it’ll just add to the atmosphere. We want to make a statement and not an apology.”

Pearce estimates that the 10ft (3m) by 6ft (1.8m) spaces would have held two prisoners when they were in use rather than four, as the arched ceilings would not have allowed for bunk beds.

Old doors from the former police station opposite Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, complete with spy hole and food hatch, will be used within the jail spa. Other period features are still in evidence in the basement of the building, including the old coal hole, which would have been the only source of heat for the cells and where the wardens would have cooked the prisoners’ meals. If the spa plans go ahead, a new entrance will be created where the old archway to the jail stood in the 1700s.

Bucks County Council leader Martin Tett commented: “The old county hall is probably one of the most historic buildings in the whole of Aylesbury. Certainly in the 10 years I’ve been on the council it has been shut up and derelict – and yet we’re trying to regenerate the whole of Aylesbury, trying to make it more of a tourist destination.”

“We’ve got some great facilities here: two function rooms, the potential spa downstairs and the ability to have start-up studios in the Porter’s Lodge, plus workshops for new businesses,” added Tett.

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Former jail cells in the basement of the Grade II-listed County Hall in Aylesbury’s Market Square, UK, may be transformed into treatment rooms if plans for a luxury spa get the go ahead from the local authority.
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The proposed site dates back to the 1700s / MetroUK
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