Cash blow over hopes to save Broomhill

HOPES of getting lottery money to save Broomhill Pool today lie in tatters.Ipswich council has decided not go ahead with an application for money from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

HOPES of getting lottery money to save Broomhill Pool today lie in tatters.

Ipswich council has decided not go ahead with an application for money from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Senior councillors insist that they still hope the pool will be saved - but cannot say how that could happen.

And the furious Friends of Broomhill Pool today said they don't know where else the money to restore the pool could come from.

Meanwhile the future of the town's Regent Theatre remains unclear after the new Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition would not give any assurances about its long-term future.

However leisure and culture spokeswoman Judy Terry insisted that they would consult more than the 1,500 people who took part in a leisure survey earlier this year - a survey which showed overwhelming support for the theatre.

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Today she insisted that the future for the theatre and Broomhill pool did not look too dark despite comments at last night's full meeting of Ipswich council.

"The previous executive decided to go ahead with the lottery bid in July, against the advice of council officials who warned that the bid would almost certainly fail and that it would cost £67,000.

"As part of the new administration's review of spending we felt that could not be justified and the bid was suspended," she said.

But the new administration was determined to see the pool reopened.

"This is a very important art deco building for the town - we are determined that when it does reopen it will be properly restored, not just have a sticking plaster applied to it," she said.

However members of the Friends of Broomhill Trust were horrified to hear that the lottery application had been suspended.

Ian Benfield from the Friends said: "I know there were doubts about the bid, but where else is the money for this going to come from?

"I don't see how they can overturn a decision made by one executive without it being considered again - surely they should have brought it back to the council before just suspending the application."

Opposition councillors felt that Mrs Terry had dismissed the survey results which showed overwhelming support for the Regent.

"No one at the meeting could be in any doubt that the Regent is firmly in their sights now," said Labour deputy leader David Ellesmere.

However Mrs Terry insisted that no decision had been made on the theatre's future.

"There will be another open meeting to discuss leisure facilities early in the new year and no decisions will be taken before then.

"We shall be discussing the council's overall leisure and culture strategy at the executive on December 7 but this will be a broad look at the strategy not a detailed discussion of all the facilities.

"That will come after we have had many more discussions with interested parties," she said.

What do you think should happen to the town's leisure facilities? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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