Pools project begins to take shape

Work to update the 26-year-old Crown Pools is now underway - but swimming is carrying on as usual.

IPSWICH: Work to update the 26-year-old Crown Pools is now underway - but swimming is carrying on as usual.

The borough is spending �3.5 million on updating the pools which opened with a fanfare in 1984 - and the repairs should ensure their future for at least the next 15 years.

The first phase to directly affect customers began last week with the closure of the reception and changing rooms to allow them to be refurbished.

The entrance to the pool is now through a portable building off William Street that also has the changing rooms.

The current phase of refurbishment, but Needham Market-based Kier, has been scheduled to take five months although borough chiefs hope it should be completed in four.

Judy Terry, the councillor responsible for leisure, said the work was badly needed to make the changing area more attractive.

Most Read

She said: “The lockers and changing area were in a very sorry state and while the tiles were clean, the grouting had discoloured and it didn't look very good.

“We're putting in new lockers and showers and also installing many more cubicles which is how most people want to change these days.”

Operations manager Tim Snook said new lockers alone cost �100,000 but all the work combined was a major project for the council.

He said: “We have three boilers and they have already been replaced. People don't see them but they are absolutely vital to the pool as a whole.

“Now we are doing this work. We started 10 days ago and there have been some teething troubles with the heating and small technical issues but the staff are getting to grips with them and are sorting them out.”

Between January and June is traditionally the busiest time of the year for the pool but the school holidays in August are also very busy.

Mr Snook said: “There really isn't a good time to do such a major project as this but we are very happy with the way things are going so far.”

This year's work should be completed without the need to close the pool - but next year phase two of the pool refurbishment involves repairing the roof and that could force a closure, especially of the leisure pool.

Mrs Terry said: “At the moment we don't know if there will have to be any closures, but if they have to happen we want to ensure they are kept to the minimum.”

nDoes Crown Pools need a new look? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk