BBC Suffolk Online Reports: ‘Broomhill Pool: Supporters of Ipswich lido restoration project ‘encouraged’

Supporters of a plan to reopen an open air swimming pool say they have been “encouraged” by pledges that the much-delayed project will happen.

A £7.25m renovation of Ipswich’s Broomhill Pool, which shut in 2002, was due to start last year but was paused due to the pandemic.

Fusion Lifestyle has said it remains “fully committed to the redevelopment”.

The National Heritage Lottery Fund and Ipswich Borough Council have told the BBC their funding remains in place.

Broomhill attracted about 2,000 visitors a day when it opened in the late-1930s, but has now sat unused for almost 20 years.

Various reopening dates have been given over the years, but there is still no confirmed date for when work will start.

Anthony Cawley, director of operations at Fusion Lifestyle, said the organisation continued “to be fully committed to the redevelopment of Broomhill Lido and we are currently working with all relevant stakeholders to agree next steps”.

David Ellesmere, Labour leader of Ipswich Borough Council, has reiterated that funding from the council for the project “is secure”.

“Our capital programme contains £1.5m (increased from an original commitment of £1m) towards the Broomhill project,” he said.

“Although the council’s finances, like all councils’, have been hit hard by the effects of Covid-19, we have no plans to remove the Broomhill funding and it was reconfirmed as recently as February.”

Funding has also been provided by the National Heritage Lottery Fund, which in 2017 awarded Fusion Lifestyle a grant of nearly £3.5m.

A spokeswoman said: “We continue to be in close contact with the grantee about the project and the grant remains in place subject to the project going ahead.”

Mark Ling, chairman of The Broomhill Pool Trust, said: “This is really encouraging news under the circumstances.

“Fusion, IBC and NLHF all deserve huge credit for not walking away from Broomhill. So we ask the people of Ipswich for their continued patience, support and understanding and back them to get Broomhill done.”

To showcase how vibrant the pool used to be, the trust has published an online archive of photos dating back to 1938.