Broomhill Pool team is looking for good news from the National Lottery
While Suffolk bathed in a mini heatwave this week, supporters of the county’s oldest remaining lido could only look on in frustration at the empty pool that is still awaiting restoration.
But the team that has been fighting to re-open Ipswich’s Broomhill Pool for the last 15 years remains confident that any heatwave from 2018 onwards will see visitors flocking to the area.
Pool operators Fusion Lifestyle was given a development grant of £180,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund last October, and was told to expect a decision on its full £3.3million grant application by spring or early summer this year.
That deadline has slipped – but Mark Ling from the Broomhill Trust, which has been supporting Fusion Lifestyle’s bid, said this was not a major concern.
He said: “It is a complex bid and we have been talking to Fusion Lifestyle about it – and they know how to do these things and the importance of getting things done right.
“It is a bit later than was planned, but there are no problems as such. We have the Heritage Open Day at Broomhill in September.
“It would be good to have a decision by then. We shall see.”
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Fusion Lifestyle has recently received HLF funding for restoration work at two major Victorian swimming baths in Manchester and Liverpool – the Victoria Baths in Manchester featured on the BBC TV programme Restoration several years ago.
Mr Ling said: “Fusion’s work on these projects is very thorough and of the highest possible quality. It is much more important that they get it right than that the application is rushed through.”
In October Fusion Lifestyle director Tim Mills had said he hoped that if everything went according to plan the swimming pool and a new leisure complex beside it could open at Easter 2018.
Mr Ling said that deadline was not written in stone: “I certainly hope and expect the pool to re-open in 2018. Whether it is at Easter remains to be seen – as I said, the important thing is that it is a really good job.”
Broomhill Pool was opened in 1938 and last opened to the public for swimming in 2002.
The Fusion Lifestyle bid includes developing a health club, cafe and other community facilities which would be open around the year to help cover the costs of the lido which would only be open between the late spring and early autumn.