Splash leisure centre replacement opening date revealed

An artist's impression of the interior of the future Sheringham Leisure Centre, which is now under c

An artist's impression of the interior of the future Sheringham Leisure Centre, which is now under construction. Image: NNDC - Credit: Archant

Residents will have to wait almost another two years before the replacement to Sheringham's Splash leisure centre is opened.

An artist's impression of the exterior of the future Sheringham Leisure Centre, which is now under c

An artist's impression of the exterior of the future Sheringham Leisure Centre, which is now under construction. Image: NNDC - Credit: Archant

North Norfolk District Council plans show the facility should finally be completed on August 29, 2021.

And councillors have agreed to keep an eagle eye on the costs of a £12.6m project, following a budget blow-out of around £2m.

At an overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Wednesday, councillor Nigel Pearce said greater scrutiny of the project was long overdue.

Mr Pearce said: "This is something we should have done a long time ago. It is a project that still has quite a lot of risks.

Sheringham's Splash, which features a wave machine and slide. Photo: Archant Library

Sheringham's Splash, which features a wave machine and slide. Photo: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

"If we are going to have costs over-run then let's be aware of them.

Councillor Nigel Dixon, who chaired the meeting, said: "This is a major project, we do not do this type of thing very often which means that we didn't know what to expect."

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In July, it was revealed an extra £2m was needed for the centre, over the original budget of £10.6m.

Groundwork on the project was completed in August and construction began on September 16.

Princess Diana meeting local school children at the opening of Splash Leisure and Fitness Centre, Sh

Princess Diana meeting local school children at the opening of Splash Leisure and Fitness Centre, Sheringham, in 1988. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

But not everyone will be looking forward to the centre, which has attracted widespread criticism due to the lack of a slide and wave machine.

These features, along with a sloping pool which mimics a beach, helped make a success of Splash, which was opened in 1988 by Princess Diana.

The council even received a petition titled 'Save the Splash Leisure Centre in Sheringham' with 2,142 signatures, calling on the council to refurbish the existing centre rather than build a new one.

But the council refused to debate the petition, pointing out that only 429 signatories were from north Norfolk - well below the required threshold of 750.

Nigel Pearce, North Norfolk district councillor. Picture: SUPPLIED BY MR PEARCE

Nigel Pearce, North Norfolk district councillor. Picture: SUPPLIED BY MR PEARCE - Credit: Archant

Liam Cross, from Dersingham, who started the petition, criticised this decision, saying Splash drew many visitors from outside the district.

Also at the committee meeting councillor Virginia Gay, portfolio holder for culture and wellbeing, said: "The council is being told to deliver this. The budget for this project has not changed.

"Only changes to the design or problems that appear along the road will alter the length of the project or its budget."

An official 'spade in the ground' ceremony is planned for later this month.

Nigel Pearce, North Norfolk district councillor. Picture: SUPPLIED BY MR PEARCE

Nigel Pearce, North Norfolk district councillor. Picture: SUPPLIED BY MR PEARCE - Credit: Archant

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