Heated Broomhill pool gets a warm welcome as supporters celebrate
PUBLISHED: 13:15 20 December 2017
Supporters of Broomhill Pool have come together to celebrate its lottery jackpot win – and to prepare for the day when Ipswich’s only lido is once again open for swimming.
Officials from potential operators Fusion Lifestyle, Ipswich council, architects KLH, the Broomhill Pool Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund came together at the pool to mark the £3.4million lottery grant to the pool.
They were joined by “King of the Channel” Mike Read who used to train in Broomhill in preparation for his 33 swimming crossings of the English Channel.
There was real spirit of celebration in the air despite the dank, December morning that seemed to sum up the present state of the pool’s buildings.
But Tim Mills from Fusion Lifestyle spoke enthusiastically about the plans to bring the area back to life.
He said: “This is fantastic news – but there’s still a lot to be done. We will need to do a lot of preparation over the next few months, there’s investigations needed and we will need to go out to tender for a contractor to actually carry out the work. But we hope to start on site at the end of next year and get all the work done in about 12 months.”
That will include heating in the pool for the first time since the pipes were removed to be melted down to help the war effort in the early 1940s, when the pool opens for swimming in 2020.
Mr Mills said: “It won’t be as hot as an indoor pool – but it should make it more comfortable and it should extend the season that it can be fully open. We have found with our other lidos that we start opening them between May and September, but demand rises so people want to use them for many more months of the year.”
Mr Read used to like to practice for his Channel swims in the cold water – but he is fully in favour of the new Broomhill being heated.
He said: “If it encourages more people to swim here, that has to be good. If you want to swim in cold water there’s always the sea.”
Robyn Llewellyn from the Heritage Lottery Fund defended the time it had taken to make a decision on the bid – it obtained first-round funding back in October 2015.
She said: “It isn’t a particularly long time. The more thorough the process is during that stage, the easier and quicker it is to get the work finished in the long term. This is a real success for everyone who buys lottery tickets.”