Broomhill faces bleak future

LOTTERY funding is unlikely to save Broomhill Pool in Ipswich, according to senior figures at Civic Centre.They don't believe the 1938-built lido has any chance of obtaining substantial grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

LOTTERY funding is unlikely to save Broomhill Pool in Ipswich, according to senior figures at Civic Centre.

They don't believe the 1938-built lido has any chance of obtaining substantial grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

And they fear that the £67,000 cost of making the bid - which was approved by the borough's executive last month - will effectively be wasted because there is no hope of the HLF making a substantial grant towards the estimated £3.5m cost of rebuilding the pool.

"Quite frankly many people who have looked into this feel that the best chance of getting lottery money to save the pool would be to use the £67,000 to buy 67,000 lottery tickets!" one council official said.

That would give the council a one-in-200 chance of winning the jackpot - the odds of a single ticket winning are 14 million to one - and many at Civic Centre believe this represents better odds than they stand with the HLF.

"Our discussions with them were not encouraging," another council officer told me.

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"Broomhill doesn't really fall into any of their criteria and frankly everyone who has had direct discussions with the HLF have been left feeling pretty deflated.

"But they haven't given us an outright rejection so I suppose there is some hope - but under the current criteria we can't really see how a bid for Broomhill can succeed.

"Of course, there could be a change in the criteria and that could completely alter the picture."

Members of the council's executive committee were aware that their officers were concerned about the lottery application.

"They didn't want us to go ahead with. They didn't think there was any point - but we have to give the pool a chance and realistically the lottery is the only way we could get enough to make a restoration possible," said deputy council leader David Ellesmere.

Conservative councillors were opposed to the lottery application because they saw it as a waste of £67,000.

However they have their own plans to refurbish Broomhill which they plan to unveil as part of a borough-wide leisure strategy within the next few weeks.

"We're not unveiling the proposals just yet, but we are talking about an imaginative scheme to transform the pool," said Tory group leader Dale Jackson.

Last year former Conservative councillor Gordon Terry suggested selling off part of neighbouring Broomhill Park for development and using the money earned to rebuild the pool.

"If they are looking at that kind of scheme, I think they would have to develop the entire park - and I'm not sure whether the residents of that part of town would want to see that happen," Mr Ellesmere said.

How would you save Broomhill Pool? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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