Watch: Broomhill’s restoration set to be secured by extra £500,000 from Ipswich council

Broomhill pool should be open again in late 2020. Picture: KLH Architects

Broomhill pool should be open again in late 2020. Picture: KLH Architects - Credit: Archant

Ipswich council is set to pledge a further £500,000 to the Broomhill Pool redevelopment project in a bid to ensure it can go ahead as planned next year.

The restoration was granted £3.4m of Heritage Lottery Fund cash last December when the cost of restoring the pool and turning the area into a all-year sports and community centre was put at £6.5m.

However inflation in the construction industry has pushed the cost up by £750,000 – potentially threatening the project that would be completed by leisure company Fusion Lifestyle with backing from the council which owns the Broomhill site.

The borough had pledged £1m to go towards the legislation – an offer made in 2005. Now it has increased that pledge by £500,000 which reflects the effect of inflation over the last 13 years.

That still leaves a funding gap of £250,000, but after talking to Fusion Lifestyle the borough believes this can be met.

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The proposed increase is due to be discussed by the borough’s executive committee on September 4 and is not expected to encounter much opposition.

Council deputy leader Bryony Rudkin, who is responsible for leisure services, said the extra money should help ensure a deadline of early October – set by the HLF – could be met for Fusion Lifestyle to come up with a firm timetable to restore Broomhill.

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That could mean the pool could reopen during 2020.

Mrs Rudkin said: “We recognise how important the pool is and we have come so far we want to do all we can to ensure the work can go ahead. We have spoken to Fusion Lifestyle and we think that between us this will allow the work to go ahead.”

The Broomhill Trust has been campaigning to get the pool reopened ever since it closed its doors at the end of the 2002 season.

Mark Ling from the Trust welcomed the borough’s commitment: “This is fantastic news. It shows that the town is as committed as ever to getting the pool reopened.

“It would bring in a substantial inward investment to a part of Ipswich that has not really had its fair share – I’m delighted that this should allow work to go ahead.”

Mr Ling said that since the news of the funding gap emerged at the start of the month a significant number of people had pledged to support an effort to ensure it went ahead.

Opinion: Council boost for Broomhill should be good for Ipswich

If Ipswich council’s executive does approve the £500,000 increase in its capital grant for the restoration of Broomhill Pool, it is a decision that will be welcomed by most.

The value of the £1m pledge made in 2005 has been eroded by inflation and the extra money should ensure that the work on a £7.25m regeneration project for an often-overlooked part of Ipswich goes ahead.

The money will not come direct from council tax payers – it will come from the council’s reserves and should ensure there are new leisure facilities for people across the town.

The redevelopment of Broomhill has taken a long time to reach this stage – but when complete it should be a far more useful leisure facility than the unheated pool was in the past.

It might take another two years before it opens its gates to the public – but by late summer 2020 the town could have a new leisure centre to be proud of.

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