Last week it was officially announced that Broomhill Lido is set to reopen in 2026. What a great start to the new year. After multiple setbacks, one such being the unsuccessful Levelling Up Fund bid last year, a funding deal between Fusion-Lifestyle, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Ipswich Borough Council has finally been agreed and we have reached the outcome we all wanted.

The pandemic and rising inflation blew the previous planned funding package apart but a generous recent additional grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund was the vital final piece to ensuring the project’s completion.

As you know, I have been very active in campaigning for the restoration of Broomhill. Last year, I held an important adjournment debate in Parliament, where I outlined to the then Levelling Up Minister, Dehenna Davison MP, and the Government the importance of getting this historic local landmark back in use. The Member of Parliament for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, Dr Dan Poulter also attended my debate to state Broomhill’s importance to the community as the Lido is situated across both our constituencies.

I have also been in frequent communication with the National Lottery Heritage Fund. I’ve had meetings with them to highlight why funding is needed alongside writing to them to highlight my support for the campaign for the restoration of this historic community asset. I also worked closely with my colleague Dr Dan Poulter and the borough council to collectively push the project over the line. The hard work from all involved parties has now paid off.

The lido was first opened in April 1938. Sadly, because of a structural survey in 1998, the decision was made at the end of the 2002 season to close the pool. Almost immediately, the Broomhill Pool Trust campaigned for it to be reopened. That campaign has lasted for over 20 years. Individuals connected with the trust, such as Mark Ling, deserve a huge amount of credit.

During my campaign, I have talked with many constituents when I have been out knocking on doors, and it is clear just how much the site means to residents of the town. Many remember going to the lido as a child and it is clear how much it means to people on an emotional level. The benefits it will provide will not be limited to Ipswich but will be county-wide.

Broomhill will be brought back up to date but will maintain its character, with its unique Art Deco Style and being one of only 17 listed lidos in Britain. It will bring significant physical health benefits, mental health benefits, economic benefits, and cultural/heritage benefits. It will be an inclusive and vibrant hub steeped in local history.

The health benefits for the community will be huge. Sadly, last year, Ipswich was ranked the eighth least active local authority area in England, according to Ipswich Borough Council’s report. The new facility will be enhanced with a new gym and studio as well as the restoration of the lido and nursery pool, providing a great opportunity to increase activity levels in Ipswich.

Another boost for Ipswich is the Gainsborough BMX Track who just a few weeks ago received over £11,000 from the Community Facilities Grant as part of the Town Deal Fund. The Community Facilities Grant was my idea as part of the Town Fund to support facilities delivering community; education and training; health and wellbeing; sports, leisure, and recreation; and environmental or sustainability activities. This is another great site for boosting people’s activity levels and health. The funding will help the club introduce a new kitchen in their club house and some new handrails.

Last week, I was able to see the new fencing that has been put up around the track which has only been in place for a short while. The BMX club has gone on a real journey over the past few years and is only going from strength to strength. From the laying of the new track that was heavily backed by British Cycling to these latest developments.

Tracey at the club deserves great credit for their success. Her persistence and passion in advocating for the club has been a pleasure to see and work with over the years. She and the BMX Club play a key role within the wider Gainsborough community.

Tom Hunt is Conservative MP for Ipswich