Massive revamp for pools on cards

A MAJOR bid to give Ipswich's swimming pools a radical makeover is being launched today.

A MAJOR bid to give Ipswich's swimming pools a radical makeover is being launched today.

A report on possible developments at Fore Street swimming pool, Crown Pools and Broomhill Pool is published today, and explores the issues of improvements and health and safety measures to be undertaken.

The options include a £300,000 makeover at Fore Street, which would mean a massive renovation project, including repairs to the roof, retiling the floor and general redecoration work.

Judy Terry, Ipswich Borough Council's portfolio holder for arts, culture and leisure, who will be presenting the report to the Executive committee on December 16, is also hoping that a £4million bid for improvements at Crown Pools will be granted, which would allow them to reconfigure the changing rooms, repair the roof and undertake major redecoration.


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Mrs Terry said: “We have put quite a lot of money into improving the pools on things like plant machinery and safety issues, but it is not work that people can see. They are tired-looking and need proper refurbishments.”

It is also requested in the report that health and safety measures are undertaken at Broomhill Pool, which would consist of draining the pool and replacing the water with innate material, like foam, and removing the diving boards.

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She added that plans to redevelop the borough's sports centres also need to be looked at and an assessment would be carried out across the whole area if they achieved unitary status.

She said: “The sports centres are also tired. They need a complete reconfiguration and extensions but we cannot afford to do that.”

Crown Pools consists of a competition, leisure and teaching pool, as well as other facilities like a fitness suite and crèche. The council has been considering either renovating or replacing it for several years.

Fore Street pool was built in 1854, and is primarily used for clubs, schools and private hire.

What do you think of 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

CAMPAIGNERS trying to save Broomhill Pool today said they are heartbroken that the site has become a magnet for vandals and thieves.

Money is now having to be spent on improving security and health and safety measures after it emerged youngsters were breaking in and jumping off the diving boards.

Part of the Pools Development Options report looks at making some safety improvements at the disused pool, which closed in 2002, following a number of incidents.

A film of youngsters jumping into the water has been placed on video sharing website, YouTube, and has already had had hundreds of viewers. Thieves have also stolen copper from wires and pump motors, and vandals have smashed an underwater observation window, which let out a third of the water.

The council has installed a palisade fence to make it more secure and the observation windows will be made vandal proof.

Mrs Terry said: “We have spent £100,000 on safety issues. We need to drain the pool and put some innate material there to stabilise it which can easily be removed. We also have to remove the diving boards for health and safety reasons.”

Since its closure, campaigners have been fighting for the restoration of the pool as it is the only open-air Olympic pool in East Anglia.

Mark Ling, of the Broomhill Pool Trust, said: “Anything that detracts from the pool as it is, is heartbreaking but at the end of the day health and safety is paramount. We know IBC cannot do anything other than comply with health and safety rules.

“I would prefer to see the money spent on the restoration of the pool but in reality, that is not going to happen. Any derelict building is going to draw certain people in and that is the additional reason why if the pool was restored and run by a professional operating group it would be a good facility and safer in the long run. It has become a magnet for vandals which is heartbreaking.”

Since the Trust's Heritage Lottery bid for restoration was rejected in October, they have been lobbying all the political parties and are working closely with IBC to explore options for a re-bid.

“We are pretty upbeat about it and remain cautiously optimistic. We know the people of Ipswich are behind us,” Mr Ling added

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