Experts to make waves on pool proposals

EXPERTS are to be brought in to develop a proposal for Suffolk's first Olympic sized swimming pool on the cards for Ipswich, it was announced today.

EXPERTS are to be brought in to develop a proposal for Suffolk's first Olympic sized swimming pool on the cards for Ipswich, it was announced today.

Ipswich Borough Council wants to build the £14million leisure complex opposite Ipswich Town Football Club to avoid a massive repair bill for the town's ageing Crown Pools.

The council wants to appoint consultants, at a cost of £35,000, to assess the full value of the Portman Road site and identify possible private investors in the project.

The complex would feature the county's first 50metre pool and could also boast a 20m pool, jaccuzis and a luxury spa complex. The council is also looking at including housing, a hotel complex, retail units and a multi-story car park on the site.

The proposal to appoint consultants will be put to its executive committee on December 5 and, if the move is given the go-ahead, a full survey of the site would be carried out and a report could be completed by February.

Cllr Judy Terry, responsible for culture and leisure, said: “We need consultants in to advise on how we can maximise the value of the site.

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“What we may want to do is see if we can have some partners in to maximise the benefits of it. There are also potential investors who may wish to assist in putting some money into it.”

The proposal for the new pool complex came after the full cost of repairing and maintaining Crown Pools became apparent. At first it had been thought refurbishment costs were around £5m but now the council says the project could be more like £12m.

And it says it has to replace the nearby Crown Street multi-storey car park within the next five years as well.

It wants to demolish Crown Pools and the existing car park and build a new car park along with housing and retail units.

Cllr Terry said: “When we had the full survey done it was about £12m to refurbish Crown Pools, and that's not taking into account any other problems which may arise.

“The new facility in Portman Road would have a life of 40 to 60 years whereas if we just refurbished Crown Pools it would only give it a 20 to 25 year life.”

n Do you think the Portman Road pool complex is a good idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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