Ipswich: Campaigners fighting to save Broomhill Pool hope Olympics has given restoration bid fresh surge

CAMPAIGNERS pushing for the redevelopment of Broomhill lido in Ipswich – the only Olympic-sized pool in Suffolk – are hoping the success of London 2012 will re-ignite a wave of community support for the project.

Mark Ling from the Broomhill Pool Trust says there is a lido renaissance nationally and, following the overwhelming success of London 2012, now is the time to bring the historic pool back to life.

“We’re not all going to be elite athletes,” he said.

“But the facility is Olympic length and has a huge role to play in local sport development.

“People are realising they (lidos) are a British institution and now, especially after the Olympics, they’re realising they are a valuable asset.”

Broomhill lido, which boasts an eight-lane pool which is 55 yards in length, a diving pool, diving boards, a grandstand and changing facilities, closed in 2002.

A lack of investment, a steady reduction in opening hours and increasing health and safety restrictions meant the facility was no longer viable to operate.

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A bid to return the pool to use is under review by leisure company Fusion Lifestyle, and the borough council, who are currently in preliminary meetings with the Lottery ahead of a formal bid to redevelop the Sherrington Road site.

Mr Ling said: “We should have an indication in the next month or two whether a full application will be put in by Fusion.”

A spokesman from Fusion Lifestyle said the firm was unable to comment.

However Fusion Lifestyle has recently had a successful bid for funding to develop another heritage-listed pool in Wales.

Mr Ling said: “That is a significant precedence that Pontypridd in Wales received the green light recently, we hope that is a good sign and are feeling cautiously optimistic.

“If it can be done in Wales, it can certainly be done here.”

Next week, Broomhill Lido will feature in a BBC Radio 4 documentary “In Praise of the Lido”, which celebrates the cultural and heritage value of Britain’s surviving lidos. The programme will air on Saturday, August 25 at 10.30am on 92.5FM.

- Have you been inspired by the Olympics? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starnews@archant.co.uk

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