'People are starting to lose hope' - Petition against closure of leisure centre to hand delivered to council
PUBLISHED: 11:47 13 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:41 14 May 2019
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More than 1,500 people have signed a petition calling for a new location to be found for a multi-million pound leisure facility in Great Yarmouth.
The borough council is currently planning a new £26m leisure facility on the current site of the Marina Centre on the seafront.
While much of the feedback has been positive, the council will this week receive a petition calling for the centre to be built elsewhere to allow the facilities to continue being used during construction.
The centre, which was built more than 30 years ago, is currently scheduled to close in the autumn, with the council hoping to reopen it in summer 2021.
The petition was started by Karen Childs, owner of the Great Yarmouth Potteries, who relies on the swimming pool at the centre, along with husband Ernie.
Mrs Childs said: "I suffer from sciatica and need to swim to manage it, but it is not just about me. The Marina Centre as it is offers so much to older generations.
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"When it was originally proposed to be renovated I thought it was a good idea as it does need it, but I did not realise it would be demolished."
Under the current proposal, visitors will be forced to find alternative facilities while it is closed - which Mrs Childs said are hard to come by.
She added: "For lots of the people, visiting is the only time they interact with other human beings, so it would be a huge loss.
"In this day and age nothing is insurmountable, so surely a solution that can be found that can mean a new facility can be built without closing the current centre?
"People are starting to lose hope but if we don't fight it now we won't ever be able to."
The petition, which was signed 615 times online and more than 900 times on paper, will be presented to Great Yarmouth Borough Council at its full meeting on Thursday.
Meanwhile, at the same meeting, Gaynor Read, director of RetroSkate will call on the council to ensure any work be scheduled until after the club's 10th anniversary competition - which is scheduled to take place on November 9 and 10.
She said: "This would be in recognition of all the amazing achievements that RetroSkate and its skaters have proudly brought back to Great Yarmouth."