Homes could be built on site of Ipswich Crown Pools
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
The current Crown Pools site in Ipswich is likely to be redeveloped for housing or commercial use if a new aquatic centre is built on Portman Road during the second half of the decade.
Ipswich council hopes to open the new aquatic centre in 2027, at which point Crown Pools will close - by then it will have been open for 43 years.
The plans are not entirely new -- there was a similar proposal in about 2005 put forward by Judy Terry, who was leisure portfolio holder at the time, and late chief executive James Hehir.
However, those plans were never carried forward and instead Crown Pools had a £4million makeover in 2012.
Now more work is needed and council leader David Ellesmere said it was necessary to start again from new: "There are a number of reasons why we need to build on a new site and seek to redevelop Crown Pools.
"The current site isn't large enough for a modern aquatic centre and the existing building needs very expensive updating to stay open long-term so it is better to build new.
"And a modern building will need much less maintenance - it should save money in the long term.
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"Also the kind of major rebuild that the current building would need would mean the town would be without a main swimming pool for two years - and that is not acceptable"
Mr Ellesmere said there had been an extensive search for a new site in the town centre before it was decided to look again at Portman Road.
He said: "There are challenges. The main sewer is under the site so we would have to avoid that, but first stage is to get a detailed survey - and that is what we are being asked to approve at next week's executive.
"As for the current Crown Pools site, that would be offered for redevelopment to boost the council's capital receipts. It could be for commercial or residential development.
"If it is for residential, it could be sold to a developer or transferred to our housing department to build homes for council tenants - but a decision on that will be taken once the pools themselves close."