In 2002, the Borough Council asked The Ipswich Society for a representative for three Scrutiny Committees set up to examine the future of the Town Hall (Neil Salmon), The Regent (John Norman ) and I, as a makeweight newcomer was ordered by the then Chairman to Broomhill Lido. I think it's important to remember the key role that your Society's representatives played in keeping these important civic buildings for their intended use. At the time, local authorities were faced with an additional charge on their buildings; the Asset Value Charge which, at 5% of the District Valuer's valuation was often the straw that broke the camel's back of viability.
The 1938 Pool, now unheated, was suffering declining attendances, poor management, surveys showing major problems with its early ferro-concrete structure and a £50,000 asset value charge. The only solution was to close it and to seek an alternative solution.
Thirteen years later, we have it. The Broomhill Trust persuaded IBC to let the Pool out to the best operator in England, Fusion Lifesyle. They engaged Allies and Morrison to produce a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund and have been successful in gaining a £180,000 development grant to produce a business plan, detailed architectural plans and a heritage education scheme. If this is accepted the Heritage Enterprise fund will grant a sum around £3m, together with £1m from IBC and £1m from Fusion Lifestyle to restore the pool to its former glory.
The outline plan will include the pools as before, a gym/health club, a café, a restored clock tower and an enlarged car park. The debate continues on heated water and diving boards. And we are going to say 2019 for the first splash. I feel that it's a memorial to good sense on everybody's part. I, at least, have always been 85% confident of success and it's here at last!
Founding Chairman, Broomhill Trust