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Swimmers dive in with ideas for new £9m leisure centre

PUBLISHED: 14:35 29 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:36 29 July 2019

Diss Otters swimming club currently hold competitive events in Norwich but hopes a new leisure centre would allow them to take place in the town. Picture: Diss Otters

Diss Otters swimming club currently hold competitive events in Norwich but hopes a new leisure centre would allow them to take place in the town. Picture: Diss Otters

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A swimming club hopes plans to build a £9m new leisure centre and swimming pool in Diss will allow it to hold its competitions in the town.

Diss Leisure Centre on Victoria Road. Picture: Simon ParkinDiss Leisure Centre on Victoria Road. Picture: Simon Parkin

Diss Otters is currently forced to hold its competitive events at the UEA Sportspark in Norwich because the current Diss Leisure Centre is not large enough.

South Norfolk Council recently assigned an officer to oversee initial research into the possibility of a new leisure centre in Diss after investing £4m at Wymondham Leisure Centre and £2m into the redevelopment of Long Stratton Leisure Centre.

Diss Otters head coach Liam Harvey said: "A competition pool is ideally what we would like to see. Our biggest event is the Diss Open that we hold that at the Sportspark in October. It would obviously be fantastic to be able to hold it at our own home pool in the future."

Diss Otters train at the town leisure centre but facilities are too small for its big events. Picture: Julie MunningsDiss Otters train at the town leisure centre but facilities are too small for its big events. Picture: Julie Munnings

Formed in 1987 the club now has 150 members and travels to competitions across the country. They recently invested in new modern diving blocks, but while swimmers train at the Diss pool only junior galas are held there.

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"The current pool is 25-metres and six lanes, which is a fairly standard size, but it is just too small to be able to put any electronic timing in because there isn't the space for timing pads," said Mr Harvey.

Diss swimming pool use John Wells hopes facilities can be expanded. Picture: Simon ParkinDiss swimming pool use John Wells hopes facilities can be expanded. Picture: Simon Parkin

"We are also very limited on spectator space and it just isn't a massive venue to hold competitions in to be honest. The biggest event we are able to hold in Diss is our friendly gala that we normally host in September."

Diss Leisure Centre, on Victoria Road, dates back to the old open air swimming lido which the district council took over in 1974, with a roof being added in the late 1980s. The size of the site means a new leisure centre would likely have to be built on a new location.

Regular swimmers were keen to see state-of-the-art sports facilities brought to the town as well as a larger pool.

John Wells, who cycles every morning from Palgrave, said: "Diss actually draws people from a wide area so it would be great to see an Olympic size pool and a bigger gym and sports hall. But it needs located close to the town."

Monica Glenn, from Diss, said: "The pool does feel cramped and can be really busy so it would be great if the facilities were expanded and more modern. I'd also love to see fitness studios and better gym facilities."

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