New pool hopes boosted

HOPES of a new pool complex in Ipswich have been boosted today after it emerged millions more than previously thought could be raised from the sale of Crown Pools.

HOPES of a new pool complex in Ipswich have been boosted today after it emerged millions more than previously thought could be raised from the sale of Crown Pools.

The town centre swimming pool is in need of repair and Ipswich Borough Council has been considering options to renovate or replace it for several years.

Plans for a long-mooted new complex on Portman Road appeared to hit the buffers last August when it emerged the council faced a £13million shortfall if it wanted to create a new Olympic-sized pool.

However it is now believed that the sale of the Crown Pools site, classed as prime retail estate, could raise more than previously thought and, combined with government funding, will make the project affordable.

Town chiefs are not ruling out the alternative of long-term repairs to Crown Pools, but are now set to wait until the autumn before making a decision so they can see what progress is made with the Civic Centre and Mint Quarter developments.

Richard Atkins, responsible for economic development at Ipswich Borough Council, said a lot depends on how much demand there is for retail space in the town once the two major developments announce which big-name retailers are on board.

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He said: “If it comes about that one of the major anchor tenants has decided to go for the old Civic Centre site or the Mint Quarter, they are not going to go in to the Crown Pools site.

“The dream position is that a new pool could be built at no cost to the taxpayer.

“I don't think that will be the case although we think the shortfall figure of £13million can come down.”

Ipswich Borough Council's executive committee will discuss the options tonight with it being recommended that they wait until autumn before making a long-term decision.

n. Are you in favour of a new pool complex? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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