New look for Crown Pools

IPSWICH: A massive refurbishment of Crown Pools is today under way as the dated swimming baths get a face-lift for the 21st century.

Contractors have ripped out the old changing rooms and gutted the main reception area as part of a �3.5 million project to upgrade the popular facility.

Mark Hunter, building and design co-ordinator for Ipswich Borough Council, said: “Crown Pools was looking very dated so it needed to be done.

“We were getting a few complaints about the state of things.”

The building was considered cutting edge when it was built in 1985 but in recent years the popular pool had become a little tired and needed a new look.

Now the brown changing room walls have been replaced with cool, blue tiles and the communal changing areas will be divided into separate cubicles for individuals, families and disabled users.

The reception area will also be updated as part of the work, which is expected to last another six weeks.

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Mr Hunter said: “It is going to be completely different to before with those horrible brown tiles.

“It will be absolutely tip top when it’s finished.”

Portable units have been installed to house temporary changing rooms and a reception area on the site to keep the facility open while the project takes place.

“It has been very important for us to stay open all the way through the work,” Mr Hunter said.

“We have tried to limit the impact on our regular swimmers.”

Lee Willmott, 52, of Britannia Road, Ipswich, was one of the workers who tiled the pool in 1985.

Now the veteran tiler is back to give the swimming pool a new lease of life.

“It’s not often you get to go back on jobs,” he said. “It makes me feel old to think I was doing this 25 years ago. The brown tiles were fashionable at the time but now it looks much cleaner and lighter.”

A second phase of work to improve the roof and the pool hall is planned to start next April.

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