Historic pool to close for good

BROOMHILL swimming pool in Ipswich is unlikely to ever re-open to the public, The Evening Star can reveal today.The pool will be shut this year while Ipswich Council looks at the future of swimming facilities in the town.

BROOMHILL swimming pool in Ipswich is unlikely to ever re-open to the public, The Evening Star can reveal today.

The pool will be shut this year while Ipswich Council looks at the future of swimming facilities in the town.

And today the council's leisure spokesman admitted it was difficult to see it ever reopening.

"Looking at the costs that would be needed to bring it up to standard, I have to say it's difficult to see how the work could be justified," John Mowles said.


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The council is currently undertaking a review of all its swimming facilities in the town - looking at Fore Street baths and Crown Pools as well.

"They all need investment now, including Crown Pools," said Mr Mowles.

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"The report won't come to a definitive answer about the future of Broomhill Pool, but it will give us something to think about."

Broomhill had faced closure in 1998 after it was discovered to have serious leaks.

Work to shore these up was carried out and it did open late that summer - but the repairs were not major and were never designed to last more than five years.

At that time it was said that if the pool was to have a long-term future it would have to be completely rebuilt, which would cost millions of pounds.

Broomhill is totally dependent on the weather to attract users.

Fine summer weather sees the unheated pool used by thousands of swimmers, but a succession of cold, wet summer days hits it badly.

Last year less than 16,000 people used the pool between May and September - during very warm summers the figure can be as high as 40,000 a year.

But the paying swimmers don't come anywhere near covering the running costs of the pool - about £250,000 a year.

And rebuilding the pool would be very expensive – an estimated £2.9 million that the council does not have available.

In 2001 – the last year that full fugures are available – every swim at the pool was subsidised by more than £7 by Ipswich Council tax payers.

And of course the cost of rebuilding the pool would have to go on top of this figure - even if it was paid off over many years.

But campaigners seeking to save the pool were not impressed by the council's arguments - and feel it is worth saving.

Record Channel swimmer Mike Read has practised at Broomhill over many years.

"If they do close the pool, there are going to be about 800 kids a day during the summer who have nowhere to go - what's going to happen to them?" he said.

"People don't want to swim indoors during the summer. The council should invest in the pool, put in some solar panels to heat the water a bit - then it should be much more attractive to people.

"If they can't go to Broomhill, there's no guarantee people will want to go to the Crown Pools, they might find there are good pools at Hadleigh, or Woodbridge, or Felixstowe!"

Mr Read felt the council would do better to spend £2.9 million rebuilding Broomhill than possibly spending £2.5 million on a diving tank for Crown Pools.

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