Below are some of the many questions we are frequently asked about Broomhill Pool and the Trust itself.
BROOMHILL POOL OVERVIEW
Set in the woodlands of Broomhill Park, Broomhill Pool is the last remaining Olympic length lido in Suffolk & Norfolk.
Uniquely designed by the Borough Engineer in 1938, it has the region’s only deep water diving pit, underwater floodlighting, 5 diving boards, heated water to 70f (until the boilers were requisitioned in 1941), sun terraces, garden areas and a grandstand to hold 700 people. It is a Grade II Listed Building.
The pool was opened by George Underwood, the Mayor of Ipswich, on April 30th 1938. It is situated on the north-west side of Ipswich, with access from Sherrington Road.
BROOMHILL POOL – 2006 FEASIBILITY FINDINGS & PROPOSED PROJECT PLAN.
The pool was closed in 2002. The Friends of Broomhill Pool was immediately formed to campaign for its restoration, and became a charitable Trust in 2003. The Trust raised an 18,000 signature petition of support, successfully lobbied politicians on all sides, secured manifesto pledges, raised funds to conduct a £67,000 feasibility study (see project plan below), secured a £1,000,000 guarantee and the support of Ipswich Borough Council.
2006 FEASIBILITY FINDINGS
1) The Pool was constructed in ferro-concrete in the early days of the use of this material. It has developed structural problems that led Ipswich Borough Council to close it as unsafe in 2002.
2) It does not comply with the Disabled Access Act.
3) Its facilities are rundown and outdated.
4) Over the years the clock tower, the flood lighting, underwater lighting and the water heating boiler have been removed.
5) The catering facilities are limited.
6) There is no provision for education in water related activities or heritage on site.
2006 FEASIBILITY PROJECT PLAN
1) The restoration will restore the Pool to its original condition
2) The Pool water can be heated by solar panels and a CHP (combined heat and power) system.
3) Additionally it will provide full disabled access and enhanced catering facilities.
4) Because of subsidence, the North East Wing will be rebuilt as an education suite and exhibition space as well as changing rooms and locker space.
5) All construction will be carried out in a sustainable manner.
6) It will be operated by a not-for-profit sport trust under the supervision of The Broomhill Pool Trust, a registered charity.
WHAT IS THE BROOMHILL POOL TRUST ?
The Broomhill Pool Trust is a registered charity (No.1102659).
The Trust’s objective is to restore Broomhill Pool; the last remaining Olympic length, grade II listed lido in Suffolk & Norfolk for full public use.
The Trust's activities are to lobby, explore and liaise with Ipswich Borough Council and all interested parties to preserve Broomhill Pool for future generations.
WHY SAVE BROOMHILL POOL ?
Over 18,000 people signed the Trust's petition to save Broomhill Pool and there has been sustained on-going interest in the pool's future. An Ipswich Borough Council survey of all its swimming facilities in 2003: received over 1600 responses with a resounding 88% voting "saving Broomhill Pool" as their first choice. (The Angle - August 2003)
Broomhill Pool has been central to summer for over 60 years. It has a special appeal for children who are able to spend all day in the fresh air in attractive surroundings, in a safe, healthy environment. The pool building is one of the most attractive open air pools in Britain and has an unrivalled position on the edge of Broomhill Park; it was spot-lighted by the Twentieth Century Society in 2001 and is the only Olympic length open-air pool in Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk. In addition to its appeal to recreational swimmers, many local groups have used Broomhill for a wide range of water sports, including Life-Saving Training, Canoeing, Triathlon training, and Dinghy sailing. At 4.5 metres deep the pool offers Sub-Aqua divers the only deep water pit in Suffolk. We must ensure that this wonderful pool is saved from demolition and preserved for future generations.
DO SOME LOCAL RESIDENTS OPPOSE THE RE-OPENING OF BROOMHILL POOL ?
We believe the majority of local residents want to see the Pool restored, but we appreciate that some are deeply concerned about how the Pool will be regenerated and how it will impact the area. We know that there has been constant vandalism at the derelict site. The Trust’s belief was also that the pool had been systematically run down by the ruling council over several of the final years. Subsequently the family appeal of Broomhill - which had been a steadfast element for 60 years - began to wane. An un-supervised youth element in a run down facility is a recipe for disaster and we are well aware that there were examples of unsocial behaviour.
The Trust plan to eradicate the problem as follows:
• The Feasibility Study identified several flagship leisure operators who have expressed a firm interest in running a restored facility. The appointment of a top class leisure operator will involve rigorous scrutiny by both the Trust (as guardians of the pool) and Ipswich Borough Council (as owners). Security of the facility and supervision of youth will be key selection criteria.
• The pool will also be actively promoted as a family venue; and restored in a manner to promote family appeal.
• The Trust will continue to engage all views of the local community, police and council to promote community input over the redevelopment of the site.
• The fact is, that since closure, the pool has actually become an increased target for anti-social behaviour, graffiti and drugs.
• Whilst there is an element of risk in any facility that appeals to our youth, the Trust does not believe that the overwhelming majority of law abiding youth and their families should simply abandon parks, recreational areas or historic lidos because we fear a small element. In fact, we believe that a well run facility with family appeal and cultural development is exactly the right mix to offer Ipswich children.
IS BROOMHILL ELIGIBLE FOR LOTTERY FUNDING?
The restoration of Broomhill Pool would qualify for a variety of lottery and third party funding.
The 2006 Feasibility Study included a comprehensive evaluation of funding possibilities for restoration and/or operational costs.
There have also been three lidos have received substantial grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Brockwell Park Lido has now received the go-ahead for major changes and improvements to the buildings surrounding the pool area whilst Uxbridge Lido and Sandford Parks Lido in Cheltenham have had a "Refreshing Splash" from HLF: see HLF website - Media Centre.
IS BROOMHILL POOL OLYMPIC SIZED ? CAN IT PLAY A ROLE FOR 2012 ?
Broomhill Pool exceeds Olympic length at 165' long - just over 50 metres in length; but it is only 60' wide and therefore does not meet modern standards for Olympic competitive swimming. It is, however, ideal for stamina and endurance training for any sporting discipline. We believe that due to its size, Broomhill offers our future Olympians an excellent training facility, particularly for events like the Triathlon. In 2010, Guildford Lido has received a £2m overhaul, reducing the pool from 55 yards to 50 metres. Guildford Lido is now reopen as a major liesure facility and tourist attraction for the town.
ANY OTHER RESONS FOR SAVING BROOMHILL POOL ? ?
For over 60 years Broomhill Pool was part of the fabric of Ipswich life; since it closed there has been a shortage of "water space" and the facility has been greatly missed. With plans for additional homes all over the town, rising levels of obesity (nationally) and increased anti-social behaviour there is a need for our young people to get more exercise and burn off surplus energy in a safe and supervised environment. Broomhill Pool has the potential to offer this environment to all who live, work in or visit Ipswich.
IS THERE A CONNECTION BETWEEN BROOMHILL POOL AND IPSWICH TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB (ITFC) ? What is the connection with Sir Charles Scott Sherrington OM ?
1) Local records (and research by John Eastwood & Tony Moyse in their superb 1986 official history of ITFC "The men who made the TOWN") reveal that the actual site of ITFC’s first game was at "Broom Hill"in 1878.
2) ITAFC continued to play their amateur matches at this site for 10 years. Portman Road was the key sporting venue in Ipswich and the home of the larger Rugby Club. Eventually, football became more popular and the two clubs switched venues !
3) We know from Ordnance records in 1884 that there was a distinct difference between "Brooks Hall" (roughly the location of Westwood Avenue & lower Valley Road) and "Broom Hill" (top of Broom Hill Road).
4) The area known as "Broom Hill" was owned by the Sherrington family. They sold the land to Borough of Ipswich for park land in 1925. Prior to the construction of the pool in 1938 the same area of Broomhill Park was a bowling green. Local senior citizens reveal that the land was always a flat shelf around this area of the park. It therefore stands to reason that if this was a the only naturally flat area on the "Broom Hill", then its quite probable that it was also the site of the Broom Hill football pitch where Ipswich Town AFC played their first games in 1878
5) One of the founders of ITAFC and first ever captain was George Stuart Sherrington, an "Old Boy" of Ipswich School, as were many of the club’s founders.
6) George Sherrington's elder brother was Sir Charles Scott Sherrington, who won the 1932 Nobel Prize for medicine; and became OM (Order of Merit, one of Britain’s highest honours). He later lived in Valley Road.
BROOMHILL WAS 75 YEARS OLD ON 30 APRIL 2013. WHAT WAS THE SCENE AT THE TIME 1938 ?
• Broomhill Pool was opened on 30 April. An art deco gem, Olympic length with 5 diving boards. The water was heated and filtered: The 3 hour filtration rate for 2,500,000 litres of water was one of the fastest in the country.
• Her Majesty the Queen (later HM the Queen Mother) launches Queen Elizabeth, the largest passenger liner for three decades and sister ship to Queen Mary.
• Ipswich Town successfully negotiate with Manchester United to secure the services of their Manager Scott Duncan. Ipswich Town are elected to the football league, Third Division (South)
• Germany march into Vienna in March 1938. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain meets Hitler. Later in Munich European leaders appease Hitler and permit the annexation the Sudetenland, Poland & Hungary .
• Mexico nationalises British & US oil companies.
• Ladislao Biro invents the ballpoint pen.
• Coelacanth “living fossil” fish is caught in the Indian ocean
• Orson Wells panics radio audiences with his performance in War of the Worlds.
• Italy win the 1938 World Cup. Hosted in Paris and contested by 15 nations. None of the British Home nations participated, despite the offer of a place.
• Spencer Tracy ( Boys Town ) and Bette Davis (Jezabel) win Oscars. Johnny Weissmuller stars in Tarzan’s revenge.
> The Beano comic is first published.
HOW CAN I HELP BROOMHILL POOL AND THE BROOMHILL POOL TRUST ?
Please make your support known to the East of England Heritage Lottery Fund, your local councillors, MPs and local newspapers.
HOW WILL BROOMHILL POOL IMPROVE CULTURE AND QUALITY OF LIFE IN IPSWICH ?
Lidos are one of the iconic building types of the 1930s. In England there are only thirteen that have been listed, of which Broomhill Pool was listed Grade II in 2001. Broomhill Pool is the only ‘moderne’ 1930’s buildings of this quality in the region.
For over 60 years Broomhill was a safe environment to play and relax; an important social meeting point; a melting pot for all ethnic backgrounds: youth, elderly, families, disadvantaged, fitness enthusiasts and serious swimmers. We plan that it will provide exercise in the open air, a social meeting place for teenagers, a heritage learning experience and a useful facility for many other water based activities. The catchment area is 40,000 people within walking distance, 135,000 by cycle or bus; and potentially 350,000 population from the greater Ipswich area. The project could potentially include the reintroduction of heated water, and provide year round healthy, social and practical heritage/cultural benefits
Everything about Broomhill was built on a generous scale: The spectator's grandstand on the South side of the pool has space for 700 people on five tiers; sunbathing terraces, known as beaches, run the whole length of the North side and a buffet and patio area on the East side provides great views of the diving board activities. The pool originally had heating and underwater lighting and the main entrance was built with a clock tower.
WHAT IF YOU FAIL ?
The loss of Broomhill Pool would reflect on all of us. At a time of child obesity, youth crime, and recognising our heritage, it would be a massive failure to lose such an immensely practical and historically valuable facility.
The Feasibility Study identified that the land on which Broomhill is situated, has legal covenants which deem that it may only be used for leisure and recreational use. To demolish Broomhill Pool, clear the site and return to parkland would cost a minimum of £1m (ironically the same amount Ipswich Borough Council has so far pledged towards its rebuild) but deliver no benefit or value for the people of Ipswich.
The grade 2 listed buildings would most probably need to be retained which would further escalate the cost of demolition. An empty, disused, grade 2 building would be a disastrous waste of tax payers money; and loss of a much needed facility.
Quite clearly the Trust’s efforts are in the best interests for both the people of Ipswich and our politicians !
RECAP - WHY SUPPORT BROOMHILL POOL ?
1) The facility is absolutely unique. Its reopening will improve the quality of life of all sections of a
large community in Suffolk (& critically, a less advantaged area of Ipswich).
2) It is intended to run at no cost to the Community.
3) It will be a landmark attraction in the region attracting many visitors from outside Ipswich.
4) We have completed a £67,000 feasibility study which shows that this will be viable project.
5) Without YOUR support it may be lost forever.
AFTER HERITAGE LOTTERY BID FAILURE IN 2008, IS IT WORTH CONTINUING TO FIGHT FOR BROOMHILL ?
The Trust's £1.99m bid for Heritage Lottery Funding was rejected in 2008. The project met the three key HLF objectives. However, the HLF indicated it was seeking “greater long term commitment from the pool’s owners”. Broomhill Pool CAN BE SAVED but funders will not make the first move until the owner's (IBC), an operator, and the majority funders (HLF) have reached mutual agreement on their commitment.
1) Broomhill is just one of twelve Grade II listed lidos in the UK. It is the only 50m + length lido in East Anglia; the only “Moderne” style building left in Ipswich.
2) The Grade II listing requires that any demolition order must be made to the Secretary of State. The owners (IBC) would need to prove that the lido is not restorable or viable for its purpose. However, the IBC/Trust, £67,000 feasibility study (conducted in 2006) already confirms that IT IS fully restorable (just £3.9m) and can be run without an operational loss. Operating budgets within the study were conservatively estimated on attendances of just 21,000 pa. (However, when the pool was well maintained and operated actual attendances were often 45,000+ per year.
3) The lido is within Broomhill Park. IBC would face a battle to use the land for anything other than recreational use. Demolition of the pool, remediation and stabilisation of the site would cost in excess of £1m (IBC has so far pledged £1m for its restoration).
4) Broomhill Pool was built in 1938 as a heated outdoor pool allowing extended seasonal opening (the boilers were requisitioned for WW2). The feasibility proposed scheme includes modern sustainable boilers to heat the pool. The facility would also house an education and heritage suite, catering, and promote many other outdoor pursuits such as canoeing, sailing, triathlon and scuba.
5) St Matthews and Pipers Vale have gone; school pools at Northgate and Westbourne have gone. Crown Pools and Fore Street are inadequate for a growing Ipswich population. Any new built indoor pool for would cost six times more than restoring Broomhill. So, Broomhill is by far the most cost effective solution to meet the towns swimming needs and seasonal peak demands.
6) Broomhill could quite easily be restored to Olympic length. However, our objective is to cater inclusively for ALL Ipswich residents and user groups to increase healthy and social activity – more than just pandering to a handful of elite athletes.
7) We have NOT “exhausted every area of funding and failed”. On the contrary, we know exactly where funding must and can come from, but no one will make the first move until the owners (IBC) and the majority funders (HLF) have reached mutual agreement on their commitment.
8) During a period of economic turmoil a local capital project like Broomhill will secure local jobs in construction, civil engineering, surveying, and long term jobs for pool operators and staff.
9) The Broomhill Trust has continued to lobby councillors on all sides. We hope to convince our council to provide long term commitment; and to present a combined, enhanced bid to the HLF in 2009.
Lastly we re-iterate the expert findings of the 2006 Feasibility Study
* Public and user groups would like the facility re-opened (18,500 petition signatures (2008), 88% of IBC’s own (2003) survey;, 3000 hits per month on www.savebroomhillpool.org
* The pool does not suffer from major structural defects.
* There is suitable funding available for re-development costs for the pool.
* The pool can operate without making an operational loss.
* Operators are willing to take over, manage and operate the pool
* The re-development of the pool is a cost effective solution for all.
WHAT IS THE "THREE KNIGHTS TRAIL" ?
The area around Broomhill Park, Ipswich is home to several historic gems. Dubbed “The Three Knights Trail”, the area contains:
1) Broomhill Park, the birthplace of Ipswich Town F.C in 1878.
2) Westbourne Library (in Broomhill Park) was purpose built in 1937, as an A.P.R decontamination unit.
3) Broomhill Pool (in Broomhill Park) is Suffolk & Norfolk’s only grade II listed lido.
4) In Valley Road was the dwelling place of Ipswich’s 1932 Nobel Prize winner, Sir Charles Scott Sherrington.
5) Also in Valley Road was the dwelling place of England’s greatest football manager, Sir Alf Ramsey.
6) In Constitution Hill (parallel to Valley Road) was the dwelling place of Ipswich Town’s finest football manager, Sir Bobby Robson.
August 2013: What is the status of Broomhill Pool ?
AUGUST 2013:BROOMHILL POOL STATUS
1. Grade II listed in 2001
2. Closed in 2002.
3. A decade long campaign has been run to save Broomhill by the Broomhill Pool Trust www.savebroomhillpool.org
4. In 2009, Ipswich Borough put out expressions of interest.
5. Top leisure trust, Fusion Lifestyle applied. Fusion are a not for profit trust, with 52 leisure facilities; including 41 pools.
6. Fusion are also the largest and unrivalled operator of lidos; with three lidos (including two restored grade II listed lidos; Brockwell Park & Hillingdon).
7. In 2011, Ipswich Borough voted through and budgeted up to £1m towards a Fusion led project. Fusion will match £1m; and are possibly seeking up to £3m from the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out the scheme.
8. The project involves full restoration of Broomhill lido; plus the addition of a fitness suite. The fitness suite would run year round as a members club; the lido would open as it always did, as a public lido (plus additional demand).
9. In August 2012, Fusion & Ipswich Borough met the Heritage Lottery Fund. This was behind closed doors, but it is clear that the HLF would not meet anywhere near the full funding request of £2.5m desired by Fusion.
10. The HLF has publically suggested that it “set out our expectations for a grant of the size being sought, in the region of £2.5m". The Trust believes that this statement was misleading because, behind closed doors, the HLF actually indicated it would only offer up to £1m; a figure which the HLF fully knows will torpedo the scheme.
11. From the £67,000 Feasibility Study in 2006 (and £9000 All Option Appraisal in 2009) the Trust believes that HLF Funding in the region of £1.9m may be enough to allow a revenue sustainable, basic scheme to proceed. The Trust also knows from its 2008 rejected HLF bid that there is at least £1.9m of costs which are of direct contributable heritage content (and which the HLF can and should cover).
12. The HLF demands that any bid from Broomhill Pool should not conflict with other planned IBC schemes; and that Suffolk's capital must time-manage its bids. However, the HLF has (for 18 years) accepted up to three times the number of bids from Cambridge (where it is headquartered) and Norwich. The rules do not appear to apply so stringently for the capitals of Norfolk & Cambridgeshire.
13. The HLF has invested a massive three to four times more in its preferred East Anglian centres; £46m in Cambridge (population 123,000); £36m in Norwich (population 132,000). Yet, Ipswich constituency (which is bigger than both Cambridge or Norwich at 133,000) has received just £13m in the last 18 years.
14. Broomhill is in the separate Central Suffolk & North Ipswich constituency. There are an additional 30,000 urban folk (and two areas of deprivation) in this part of Ipswich. In stark contrast, this politically separate area and one in greatest need of investment, has received £0 (zero) funding in 18 years from the HLF.
15. Meantime, Fusion has been valiantly reviewing their cost plans towards a revised scheme.
16.Broomhill Pool is the only heritage project in North Ipswich, it has the broad support of the people of Ipswich, its has the backing of the Borough and of a proven operator. Yet, the HLF risks turning our area into a Heritage desert. Additionally, our taxpayers and lottery players are in basic terms subsidizing our biggest regional rivals.
17. In 2008 the HLF rejected the Trust's original bid on following grounds: "The Regional Committee recognised the importance of this project to the heritage and agreed that the project could deliver strong community and social benefits. They acknowledged the work of the Trust to date and the dedication and expertise of its membership. Nevertheless they considered that the risks in project management and financial viability in this application were too high to merit support.
In particular there were concerns that there was insufficient assurance about the future sustainability of the pool’s operation and management. There were concerns about the capacity of a volunteer group to manage and deliver this scale of project without additional support and contingency arrangements in place. In discussion it was noted that as the owner of the site with a responsibility for maintenance, Ipswich Borough Council might have been expected to demonstrate greater financial commitment, and play a stronger role in supporting the Trust in delivery of the project. They noted further concern at the level of partnership funding still to be secured”.
The Trust took on board all of these concerns; and have spent a further 5 years to meet and exceed them. We secured £1m commitment from Ipswich Borough Council, which critically is now BUDGETED. IBC put out expressions of interest and appointed Fusion Lifestyle - a proven not for profit operator – to lead the project. Fusion also agreed to invest up to £1m. So we achieved the HLF’s key demand of a risk averse, sustainable scheme, financially backed, and with the full commitment not only of IBC but an operator too !
18. So as of August 2013, The Broomhill Pool Trust hopes that Fusion will be encouraged to submit a HLF bid, for closer to £1,9m, which would allow a scheme to proceed, whilst demonstrating that it has met all HLF obligations on heritage content. The Trust hopes that the HLF will reconsider and apply common sense and fairness; to fully back this much deserved, needed and supported project for Ipswich; and to proceed with it. The Trust will gladly move away from 11 years of campaigning and will relish a role as Fusion's community & heritage partner.