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Broomhill lido rebuild edges closer as plans are shown off to Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 19:00 26 April 2017

Architect's impression of the rebuilt Broomhill lido - the view from the entrance to the site. Picture: KLH ARCHITECTS

Architect's impression of the rebuilt Broomhill lido - the view from the entrance to the site. Picture: KLH ARCHITECTS

Archant

Work to restore the Broomhill lido in Ipswich are set to take a significant step forward as new operators Fusion Lifestyle put the final touches to their application for millions of pounds of National Lottery funding.

Architect's impression of the rebuilt Broomhill lido - from the new terrace bar. Picture: KLH ARCHITECTSArchitect's impression of the rebuilt Broomhill lido - from the new terrace bar. Picture: KLH ARCHITECTS

The scheme has already received first-stage backing for its plans from the Heritage Lottery Fund – now its final plans will be shown off to residents of north Ipswich at two exhibitions over the next few days.

The open-air pool opened in 1938 but its heating system was not replaced after being removed during the war and it was only every open between May and September. It last opened for swimming in 2002 – but the campaign to re-open it has continued since then.

Fusion is working with local firm KLH Architects to consult on their design proposals and is inviting local people to review and provide their feedback on the plans.

The design proposals will be put on display at Broomhill Library from noon on Friday until 4pm next Wednesday – May 3. The display will then be moved to the Castle Hill Community Centre on Highfield Road where it will remain until 4pm on May 6.

Broomhill would always be busy in spells of hot weather, as seen here in August 1975Broomhill would always be busy in spells of hot weather, as seen here in August 1975

Members of the public will be invited in for a day of consultation on May 6 from 10am to 4pm, where representatives from Fusion and KLH will be on hand to answer any questions about their proposals.

Residents will also be able to participate in a survey which will go online soon.

Tim Mills of Fusion Lifestyle said: “This is a particularly important time for the project as we put the finishing touches to our planning application and the final funding application to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“Our previous consultations have shown that this project enjoys the support of many Ipswich residents and this is the last chance for people to express that support before the HLF considers Fusion’s proposal”.

Mark Ling of The Broomhill Pool Trust at the lido in 2013Mark Ling of The Broomhill Pool Trust at the lido in 2013

Mark Ling, Chair of the Broomhill Pool Trust, long-term lobbyists and supporters of the restoration project said “Lidos are enjoying a renaissance and Ipswich has one of Britain’s finest.

“Fusion has an exceptional track record of restoring and operating listed lidos. We are confident that they will deliver a scheme that is popular locally and celebrated nationally.”

What next for Broomhill lido? When will Ipswich get its outdoor pool back?

Some of those who braved the chilly Christmas Day swim in 1996Some of those who braved the chilly Christmas Day swim in 1996

It has taken 14 years to get from the decision to keep the pool shut to the latest stage of the battle to re-open Broomhill lido – and it could be another two summers before it opens its doors to the public again.

Once the public consultation is finished, and providing there are no objections, a planning application is expected to be submitted to Ipswich council for the work within the next few weeks.

At the same time the final bid for £3.3m of money from the Heritage Lottery Fund will be submitted. The original £180,000 bid for development funds was successful in October 2015.

Young swimmers at Broomhill Pool in May 1965Young swimmers at Broomhill Pool in May 1965

There had been hopes that the pool could reopen in 2018 – but the application has taken longer than originally hoped and it looks unlikely that there will be swimming before 2019.

But other facilities including a cafe and a health club could be open at Broomhill by the end of next year if the applications are successful.

Broomhill enjoyed by generations – until the cost of upkeep made it unaffordable

Broomhill Pool was always a popular place on warm summer daysBroomhill Pool was always a popular place on warm summer days

Broomhill pool was opened in 1938 and for 65 summers was a popular attraction for Ipswich swimmers – especially youngsters attracted there on hot days.

But it was only ever open for four months a year – from early May to early September – because the heating equipment installed when it was first opened was removed during the war to be melted down for weapons . . . and never replaced.

Being so weather-dependent meant the income from visitors was always erratic – and it was always expensive to maintain.

HLF loco.HLF loco.

The opening of Crown Pools in 1984 gave youngsters somewhere to go swimming and have fun throughout the year even when the weather was cold.

Eventually in 2003 the decision was made that the cost of opening it for the summer could not be justified. Since then there has been a long campaign to get it re-opened, eventually involving Fusion Lifestyle and the HLF.

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