New spa to open under Aylesbury's historic Old County Hall

  |  Published: Oct 31st 2016
David Pearce and Ben Moult ourside the entrance to the new spa
David Pearce and Ben Moult ourside the entrance to the new spa

A new spa will open under the historic Old County Hall in Market Square, Aylesbury in November, after the site was refurbished by Buckinghamshire County Council.

The Archway Beauty Clinic & Salon will be accessed under The Arches and is located in what has variously been used as a Georgian jail, Victorian court offices and storage facility for classified documents during the Second World War.

The County Council will earn a rental income from the spa, which will employ six staff.

It was refurbished as part of a programme of works by the Council to generate income from Old County Hall, which it owns. Other parts of the building have been transformed into business offices and exhibition and meeting space.

The cellars were originally part of a private residence belonging to a William Benson, who rented them to local constables to hold their prisoners. In 1723 the land was sold and the famous landmark that still stands today was constructed. At this point the space was used by court clerks, while more latterly the rooms have been used as storage.

By the time lead officer David Pearce became involved in 2014, the cellars were in a bad state of repair.

"It was dark and gloomy and full of old documents which hadn't been touched in decades," he said. "It was such a wasted space, but with a bit of imagination it was easy to see how it could be brought back into valuable use again.

“After a lot of hard work, the space is now light and airy, with all the modern-day features you would expect, while retaining its historic character.”

The spa’s four treatment rooms are entered via steel clad cell doors which were saved from the old police station in Exchange Street when it was demolished last year, while radiators and brass door furniture have been recycled from the County Offices opposite New County Hall in Walton Street. 

The Archway Beauty Clinic & Salon will open on November 19, offering a wide range of treatments including facial aesthetics, anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, semi-permanent make-up, facials, manicures, pedicures and massages.

Owner Ben Moult, 36, a former Grange School pupil, said: “When David showed me around after it had been refurbished my eyes literally lit up. It’s such a quirky, interesting venue - that’s what has drawn me to it. It’s a really exciting opportunity.”

John Chilver, Cabinet Member for Resources at Buckinghamshire County Council, said: ““Regenerating this historic and interesting venue is a win-win for everybody involved, bringing in income for the council while boosting the local economy and creating local jobs. It is a key part of our wider plan to bring long-term unused areas of our estate back into beneficial use.”

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