Broomhill Pool campaigners say pledges the historic Ipswich lido will still reopen are "really encouraging".

The £7million project to bring the outdoor pool back into use, nearly 20 years after its closure, was just gearing up to start in early 2020.

Trees had been cleared and Fusion Lifestyle, which is leading the plan to restore the pool, was about to appoint a contractor. But the first lockdown meant everything came to a halt.

Despite the problems caused by coronavirus, Fusion has said it is still committed to the project to create a year-round leisure and fitness centre.

Ipswich Star: Mark Ling of the Broomhill Pool TrustMark Ling of the Broomhill Pool Trust (Image: Archant)

Mark Ling, chairman of the Broomhill Pool Trust, said: "All three stakeholders have recently reaffirmed their commitment to the project. In truth, any one of these partners could have walked away by now and with good reason."

He added: "This is really encouraging news," and said the trust was "extremely grateful" to Fusion Lifestyle, Ipswich Borough Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

"We believe they deserve great credit. We ask them to redouble their efforts and explore every avenue.

"We offer our continued support and fully back them to Get Broomhill Done."

Ipswich Star: Broomhill Swimming Pool in IpswichBroomhill Swimming Pool in Ipswich (Image: Archant)

All the funding for the pool restoration is still in place, although the costings will need to be re-examined and no timescale is in place as yet.

A spokesman for Fusion said: ""We have already reaffirmed our commitment to the redevelopment of Broomhill Lido and we’re really excited to work with the Broomhill Pool Trust and other key stakeholders on this project as work gets underway."

David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said the council's funding towards the restoration was secure.

He said: "Our capital programme contains £1.5million, increased from an original commitment of £1m, towards the Broomhill project.

"Although the council’s finances – like all councils’ – have been hit hard by the effects of Covid-19, we have no plans to remove the Broomhill funding and it was re-confirmed as recently as February.”

A spokesperson for the National Lottery Heritage Fund said: "We continue to be in close contact with the grantee about the project and the grant remains in place subject to the project going ahead."

Mr Ling said: "This has been the most difficult period of our 18-year campaign to save Broomhill Pool. We have overcome so many challenges, highs, lows, setbacks and breakthroughs over nearly two decades."

He called for people in Ipswich to get behind the project. Earlier this year, Community Champions from the Ormiston Endeavour Academy, aged 11 to 15, started an online petition calling for work to restart as soon as possible.

Before the pandemic, the trust regularly organised events such as clean-ups of the site.

This has not been possible during the pandemic, but it is hoped to reintroduce the clear-up sessions in future.

It also wasn't possible to go ahead with the usual Heritage Open Days, where the trust welcomes people into the site and puts on displays about the lido's history.

However, the Broomhill Trust has put a large display of photos on its website showing the pool through the years.