Million pound pledge for pool

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save an outdoor swimming pool have been thrown a lifeline after councillors unanimously backed a £1million funding plan.Members of Ipswich council's executive committee voted in favour last night of recommendations to offer the financial incentive to the Broomhill Pool Trust on the condition it protects the long-term future of the facility and raises the additional funding needed for restoration.

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save an outdoor swimming pool have been thrown a lifeline after councillors unanimously backed a £1million funding plan.

Members of Ipswich council's executive committee voted in favour last night of recommendations to offer the financial incentive to the Broomhill Pool Trust on the condition it protects the long-term future of the facility and raises the additional funding needed for restoration.

The trust now has until March 2007 to attract financial support from outside organisations and draw up a detailed business plan before the £1million is handed over.

But in the meantime, council bosses have agreed to give the organisation £58,450 towards a feasibility study on the deteriorating pool that will make this possible.

Culture and leisure spokeswoman Judy Terry said: “It's a Grade-II listed building and we sincerely hope the trust, with its plans, will be able to take its restoration forward and bring it back into use.

“They have been given a capital sum at the outset for the feasibility study. The importance is they can go out to other bodies and organisations saying they have official support of the borough council with £1m so they can demonstrate they mean business. They are very confident they will be able to raise the necessary funds.”

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The pool closed at the end of the 2002 season after Ipswich Borough Council calculated it was losing £60,000 a year.

The Broomhill Pool Trust has been formerly established as a registered charity with the aim of bringing the pool back into use.

It has already collected 18,000 names in support of the pool's reinstatement and a report to the executive committee recommends the council give it an opportunity to develop robust refurbishment plans.

The council's offer eclipses a decision taken a year ago by the former administration to submit a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for cash support.

The bid itself would have cost the council £67,000 but was deemed unlikely to succeed because, being only open for 18-weeks of the year, the pool would not be considered a priority.

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