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Diss sports club expansion approved

PUBLISHED: 15:29 08 July 2010 | UPDATED: 20:24 01 August 2010

Adam Gretton

A campaign to boost sporting participation rates in south Norfolk received a boost this week when the extension of a Diss sports club was approved.

The long-term future of the town's racquets club in Walcot Road is looking more secure after a major expansion of the facility received the green light.

A campaign to boost sporting participation rates in south Norfolk received a boost this week when the extension of a Diss sports club was approved.

The long-term future of the town's racquets club in Walcot Road is looking more secure after a major expansion of the facility received the green light.

The approval of the extension at Heywood Sports and Racquet Club, which will provide new swimming, spa, badminton and fitness studio facilities, had received objections from 12 neighbours over concerns about increased traffic, lack of parking, and the development overlooking the nearby high school.

But district councillors unanimously backed the scheme after the owner submitted revised plans to remove a first floor balcony on the 675sqm extension and offered to create 85 car parking spaces for the larger sporting facility.

Members of a South Norfolk Council planning committee also praised the application for helping to boost sporting participation figures in the area, which was backed by the authority's active life and play officer.

Keith Weeks, councillor for Bressingham and Burston, said: “I think it is an aspect of great importance and the more facilities we can offer to residents can only be a good thing. We have always had premises here and it is a matter of improving them.”

The extension, which will add to the sports club's three squash courts, gym, 5-a-side football pitch, and tennis courts, comes two years after Chris Burnard, of Traditional English Properties, bought the former Diss Squash Club.

Mr Burnard said the plans aimed to secure the long-term survival of the facility, which could not succeed on its own with just squash courts.

“Diss is one of the few towns that have squash courts. They are always part of a bigger sports centre. It is purely a small business that needs to make profit and it is hard to do that with the facilities we have got and we need to bring it into the 21st century.”

“We are hoping to provide something that does not exist in Diss and in the long-term we need to expand to provide more facilities to keep the club existing. We have done the best with what we have got, but need to go further to make it succeed,” he said.

As part of the plans, 20 parking spaces at the club will be made available for staff parking during school times at Diss High School to relieve on-street parking issues.


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