At last the news is good for the pool. Ten years on from the last
swim the Executive Committee of Ipswich Borough Council has
decided to go ahead with restoration and management by an
The strategy that persuaded the Committee and its officers is
to let the entire site on a very long lease - at least fifty years -
to an operator, Fusion Lifestyle. Fusion, spun out of the leisure
department of the London Borough of Southwark, are a highly
respected not-for-profit trust who run nearly fifty leisure outlets in
the south of England including three open air pools, two of which
are Listed and required similar regeneration.
Fusion will raise the capital necessary (£3.5m) for the re-opening
from several sources including IBC who have budgeted £1m, the
Heritage Lottery Fund who are extremely supportive, other grant
funding bodies and raising some on the market, supported by the
long lease and their reputation.
The work to be done will include repairs to failing concrete
structures, the pool tank, the south grandstand and the north
changing rooms. The clock tower will be reinstated, a fifty station
health and fitness centre open all the year round to provide an
income stream will be installed under the south grandstand and the
car park will be enlarged and improved. The jury is out on the fate
of the diving boards and it's unlikely that the pool will be heated.
It seems a long time since the Chairman sent me to sit on an IBC
Scrutiny Committee on the future of this asset. The enthusiasm
of its supporters led me to being the Chair of the Trust we set up
and thus to the present position. Optimistically, and I have never
wavered in my confidence, the pool should be open to the warm
skies by 2015.