BBC Radio Suffolk: Latest news on Broomhill Pool and what has held up the restoration project. Please listen to link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsifNlJPbSU. Lesley Dolphin’s interview with Mark Ling (Broomhill Pool Trust Chairman) on BBC RADIO SUFFOLK – 30/9/21 (approx 5:00 mins). Apologies for sound quality.
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. https://broomhillpooltrust.org/gallery-the-past/
Heritage Open Days 2021: Take the Broomhill Pool, Ipswich photo tour at https://broomhillpooltrust.org/gallery-the-past/
Photo Credit: Marion Little.
Marion writes that the photo is of her Mum, “Sylvia Richardson at the time of the photo, later Sylvia Brooks. Sylvia was a good swimmer, having learned, aged three when she fell in the mill stream at Holbrook Mill where the family lived in the 1920s.
When she was about 10 she jumped into Ipswich Docks to rescue a young boy who had fallen in. I know she went to Broomhill a lot in the months before the war, and wonder if this photo was taken by her boyfriend (later her husband) as he kept this photo with him during the war. I know they often went to Broomhill together, walking from Spring Road where they lived near each other.
I was born in the 1950s and Mum frequently took me to Broomhill for the day, queuing to get in, using the baskets for our clothes and shoes, walking through the cold shower/foot bath. Then having to go out at lunchtime and queue all over again! Although she was a strong swimmer (I could not keep up) I never knew her to dive from any of the boards, so maybe she didn’t.
We always sat in the same spot on the concrete, to eat our picnic, and bought a cup of tea from the buffet. When she was in her 70’s we used to sit on the seated area, and only stayed for one session, but that was the only concession to her age!”
Sylvia lived to a great age of 97 and died just before Christmas 2020.
Ormiston Endeavour Academy, Community Champions’ open letter and online petition sparks positive reply.
For full story see: Bosses insist Ipswich’s Broomhill pool will be restored | Ipswich Star
Broomhill bosses still confident Ipswich lido will reopen
Published: 4:30 PM June 9, 2021
Ormiston Endeavour’s community champions have linked up with the Broomhill Pool Trust to launch the petition.
The company planning to restore and reopen Broomhill Pool in Ipswich has insisted their ambitious scheme to turn it into a year-round leisure centre is still on course, despite being delayed by the Covid pandemic.
Work to clear trees around the site started in early 2020 just weeks before the first lockdown came in.
The full restoration had been due to start around Easter last year and there were hopes that the new leisure centre would be open this summer.
However, the pandemic forced everything to be put on hold and still nothing further has happened. This has led to fears among some campaigners that the restoration may never happen.
But Fusion Lifestyle, which is leading the National Lottery-backed restoration of the pool, has insisted it still plans to go ahead with the scheme, although its priority at present is getting its existing leisure centres around the country up and running again.
Anthony Cawley, director of operations at Fusion, said: “We are still fully committed to the redevelopment of Broomhill Lido. We will be revisiting the development plans again as soon as possible.”
The lack of action since the start of lockdown relaxations has prompted the Community Champions from the Ormiston Endeavour Academy to start an online petition calling for work to restart as soon as possible – a move backed by the Broomhill Pool Trust, which has been campaigning for its reopening since it closed in 2002.
The 12 Community Champions, aged between 11 and 15, also wrote an open letter to Fusion Lifestyle, Ipswich council, and the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as the town’s two MPs to get their support for the work to be completed.
Their letter says: “We want them to know that we appreciate all their efforts to get this project close to fruition prior to the Covid pandemic. We continue to support them and ask that they do all they can to re-activate the restoration of Broomhill Pool as we emerge from this unprecedented challenge.
Their petition has so far attracted nearly 500 signatures on change.org in a bid to get the £7m restoration programme started.
The aim is to create an all-year leisure centre on one side of the pool, and introduce some heating to allow the restored outdoor pool to be able to be used for more of the year than had been the case before its closure.
Stunning aerial footage of Broomhill Open Air Swimming Pool, one of Britain’s finest lidos right here in Ipswich. Footage courtesy of DJI MINI 2 – Broom Hill Swimming Pool Ipswich 4K.
17 October 2020:
BROOMHILL POOL TIDY UP – An overwhelming task ahead, but after a days hard graft it was great to see the old place showing its potential again – and waiting for better times for its full restoration. Thanks so much to all our team members, an Ipswich Borough Councillor and to Woods Professional Decorators, who gave their time freely to paint over the graffiti.
Full Ipswich coverage:
Broomhill Pool Trust Facebook page with photos before, during and after tidy up works:
12 October 2020:
Weather permitting, the Broomhill Pool Trust will be organising a tidy up at the grade II listed site over the next weekend. A local trade decorator is providing his time freely to help paint over any graffiti. Our thanks to Woods_professionaldecorators@outlook.com
The Trust is also keen to appeal to those that have left graffiti at the site, that our entire efforts to save this wonderful recreational and architectural asset is for the benefit of ALL local people and particularly the youth of Ipswich.
Bosses at Ipswich council were today hopeful that the latest setback to the redevelopment of Broomhill Pool in the town will turn out to be a delay and not a cancellation of the plans.
Work to restore the pool and create a year-round fitness and leisure centre at the site was due to start in the spring – contractors were on site at the start of the year to clear some of the trees that had to go to allow work to start.
But by the time the main work was due to start, the lockdown had been imposed and nothing happened. Now the company that will run the new centre when the work is complete, Fusion Lifestyle, has put a hold on all new work while it concentrates on recovering from the lockdown which saw its existing premises across the country closed for months. Fusion runs sports and leisure centres from Newcastle to Tavistock in Devon.
A statement from the firm said:
“We appreciate just how treasured the Broomhill pool is by the local community and we would love to have some news to share. Unfortunately, the effects of Covid have been far reaching in our industry and, like all other leisure operators, our business has suffered a severe, and ongoing, shock as a result of the Covid crisis.
“Our focus in the immediate future is to restart and recover, and this must be our priority task. We are in continuing discussions with our various partners on the Broomhill Pool project on how and when we can recommence the project. We hope everyone will bear with us whilst we start to recover and work through all the priorities for our business in the months to come.”
The borough continues to talk to Fusion Lifestyle, and a spokesman said the feeling was that this was very much a delay to the project – not a cancellation. He said the council was still prepared to pay for part of the work and the funding was ring-fenced.
Much of the cost of the scheme will be funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It issued a statement saying: “In December 2017, we made an offer of a grant to Fusion Lifestyle in order to restore Broomhill Pool and construct new facilities for public use and enjoyment.
“We understand that due to challenges that have arisen from the Covid pandemic, the future of the project is under consideration. We are in discussion with Fusion Lifestyle about this.”
24 July 2020:
Purcell launches “ART DECO Along the East Coast MAP” – Ipswich’s Grade II listed Broomhill Pool stars in East Anglia’s finest.
As part of our continued cultural presence in the East of England, Purcell are supporting the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts’ (SCVA) exhibition, Art Deco by the Sea.
The exhibition focuses on how after the First World War, during a new age of mass tourism, Art Deco transformed our seaside towns.
This prominent and eye catching style is still woven throughout the towns’ architecture and design today.
In support of the exhibition, our team have designed an ‘Art Deco Along the East Coast’ map. This explores Art Deco buildings across the East of England’s coastline and features some of the most prominent buildings within the region.