Broomhill lottery bid set to be lodged this month but no swimming until 2020
- Credit: Archant
The rebirth of the Broomhill Pool in Ipswich is set to take a major step forward on Tuesday when the borough council’s executive is expected to grant a 50-year lease on the building to operators Fusion Lifestyle.
That will allow Fusion to formally submit its bid for second round funding for the scheme to the Heritage Lottery Fund – and that could mean the final decision on this bid for millions of pounds is announced at the end of this year or in early 2018.
But work on the scheme could be some way away – the earliest the pool could reopen would be the summer of 2020 and Fusion boss Tim Mills was making no commitments about a timescale.
The first round of lottery funding was granted in October 2015 and there were hopes the second round decision would follow months later with work well under way this year.
In October 2015 Fusion was seeking £3.3m from the HLF to be added to £1m from the borough and £1m from the company to fund the £5.3m restoration project.
Mr Mills said: “This has been a very complex scheme and we have had to take time to make sure the whole application is watertight – we’ve been out to public consultation and this should allow us to go ahead and lodge the formal bid with the HLF.”
The proposal includes restoring some of the diving boards that were a key feature of the pool – and heating the water, allowing it to be used more months of the year.
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Mr Mills would not be drawn on a date for the pool to reopen – but said the restoration would probably take “something over a year” from the start of work.
If the lottery bid is successful, there would then be a need for the work to be put out to tender and the successful contractor would then have to draw up a work programme.
The soonest work could realistically start would be the end of next year which would mean the pool would not be able to reopen until 2020 at the earliest.
Mark Ling from the Broomhill Trust, which has been trying to reopen the pool since it closed at the end of the 2002 season, said he was not worried about the long time it was taking to get it reopened.
He said: “We all knew this was very complex. To be honest I’m happier that it is taking a long time because it means Fusion have taken care to get everything just right.”