Broomhill lido in Ipswich set to open at Easter 2018

Broomhill Swimming Pool in Ipswich has received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. L-R: Robyn Llewellyn

Broomhill Swimming Pool in Ipswich has received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. L-R: Robyn Llewellyn (head of Heritage Lottery Fund - East of England), Cllr Bryony Rudkin, Tim Mills, Garath Jones and Mark Ling. - Credit: Archant

Broomhill pool in Ipswich could reopen to the public at Easter 2018 – its 80th anniversary – after its re-opening proposals got the backing of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

But there is still much work to do before rebuilding can start at the historic site in north west Ipswich.

The rebuilding and operation of the site will be undertaken by Fusion Lifestyle – but first the £180,000 development grant from the HLF needs to be turned into a full grant of £3.3m. The borough and Fusion are each investing £1m into the project bringing the total investment up to £5.3m.

Fusion Lifestyle director Tim Mills hoped that a decision on the funding would come through in spring or early summer next year.

Planning details would need to be sorted out during the second half of next year – with work hopefully starting on site in late 2016 or early 2017.

Mr Mills said: “We expect the work on site to take about a year to complete. That effectively means the earliest the pool could be open again is Easter 2018. Easter Sunday 2018 is on April 1.

As well as the pool the Broomhill site will also have a gym, studios for classes, and a community cafe. Fusion Lifestyle is also hoping to talk to Suffolk Libraries about encouraging the development of a “community hub”.

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Robyn Llewellyn from the Heritage Lottery Fund accepted that it had taken a long time to reach the position where the funding could be awarded – but a change in rules a few years ago allowing “Heritage Enterprise” projects to be considered was crucial.

The “Heritage Enterprise” category meant that historic buildings whose restoration would otherwise be uneconomic but could have a community use could become eligible for funding.

Ms Llewellyn said: “I know it has taken a long time to get here, but it was important to get the right scheme together – we had to know it could succeed before granting money.”

One issue that the borough will have to consider during the planning phase is access to the pool, especially parking.

Some residents of Sherrington Road are concerned about the amount of traffic a reopened pool and gym could generate – the gym and cafe will be open around the year.

One issue that still has to be decided is whether the pool will be heated. That could extend its season – which traditionally ran from May to September to March to October. Mr Mills said some of Fusion’s unheated lidos were open throughout the year: “Some swimmers like to break the ice at Christmas!”

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