Ipswich’S Broomhill Pool Gets £3.4M National Lottery Jackpot For Christmas

Architect’s impression of the rebuilt Broomhill lido. Picture: KLH Architects

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That should mean that people are once again able to enjoy the outdoor swimming pool during the summer of 2020 – which will be 18 years after its last public opening – in water that is heated for the first time in 80 years.

The Grade II listed art-deco building, constructed in 1938, has been closed for 15 years but will be given a new lease of life as an open air swimming pool and fitness centre.

Work is due to start on the restoration towards the end of 2018 and this is expected to take about a year to complete.

The new health and fitness centre could open towards the end of 2019 – but the swimming pool is expected to open to the public for the 2020 summer season.

It will be heated – but will not be as warm as indoor pools. It will be available to hardy swimmers throughout the year but the swimming season is expected to run from Easter to October.

When Broomhill Pool was built, outdoor swimming and diving were in vogue both as a pastime and spectator event. In its heyday, the pool had a grandstand that could seat 700, and catered for as many as 2,000 visitors a day.

The National Lottery-supported project, run by fitness and leisure charity Fusion Lifestyle, will restore the pool and diving boards, allow the water to be heated and erect a replica clock tower in buildings original the art-deco style.

Additionally, a new health and wellbeing centre is to be built, allowing the pool to generate income all year round.

The £3.4m grant, contributing half of the project’s £6.5m total costs, is from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Heritage Enterprise grants programme.

Ipswich council has committed £1m towards the project costs with the remaining £2m being funded directly by Fusion Lifestyle.

Tim Mills, Director of Business Development at Fusion Lifestyle, said “We are absolutely delighted that our second round submission to the HLF has been successful.

“Considerable work has been undertaken by Fusion and other partners to reach this point and this is a major milestone on the long journey to restore the Broomhill site. We know that the real work starts now as we strive to bring our ambitious proposals for the site to fruition over the next few years.”

Ipswich council deputy leader Bryony Rudkin said: “We are so pleased that Fusion’s hard work and skill has paid off. The Council remains committed to supporting the project financially and I would also like to thank the Trust for its passion and drive which has helped us get to this stage today.”

Mark Ling of the Broomhill Pool Trust said “Well done and a massive thank you to Fusion Lifestyle, The Heritage Lottery Fund and to Ipswich Borough Council for their shared commitment and vision.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of Heritage Lottery Fund said: “After 15 years of closure, I’m delighted that this once thriving community asset will be given a new lease of life, and be restored and rejuvenated as a public facility. As one of few remaining interwar lidos, it’s fantastic that this grant, made possible by National Lottery players, has saved Broomhill Pool from further deterioration.”

Broomhill pool celebrates its 80th birthday next year – and should mark its 82nd anniversary with its formal re-opening.

The pool opened in 1938, one of two outdoor pools that opened in the town alongside Piper’s Vale pool on the other side of Ipswich.

It was heated – but the boilers and heating elements were removed in 1940 so the metal could be melted down for the war effort.

It remained open from then until 2002 – although for its last few years it was a constant struggle to keep it open.

In spring 2003 the borough said it would not be safe to reopen – and a major campaign was launched to save the building.

The council tried to launch its own lottery bid – but without a partner who was able to develop it for 12-month operation this did not get anywhere.

Finally Fusion Lifestyle took on the project, with £1m backing from the council, and it has finally got the go-ahead.

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