Work is under way on new Diss Catholic Church

There was champagne and cheers at a greenfield site in Diss yesterday when a ceremony was held to mark the building of a new church.

Long-running plans for a new Catholic church in the town have begun to become reality after work started on the new �1m facility off Shelfanger Road.

Church officials, local councillors, and members of the congregation gathered at the site yesterday for a 'breaking of the ground' ceremony for the construction of the new church.

The project comes after the church moved out of a temporary building in Stanley Road, in Diss, last month which had been the Catholic community's place of prayer for almost 60 years. The new church, which is being built by Harleston-based Blackburns Construction and was designed by Hollins Architects, of Framlingham, is due to be completed by the summer and will be big enough to seat 270 people and will incorporate meeting rooms, a kitchen and accommodation for the priest.

Parish priest Father Simon Blakesley said he was 'pleased' to see work get under way after eight years of preparation on the new church.

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'The builders are going to get sick of me because I have never built a church before and probably never will again. This is the main dormitory area of Diss and more people live in walking distance here than the old site. The whole plan was to find a site which would not have got planning permission for housing, but would have got permission for a community facility,' he said.

The Catholic church is currently meeting at the United Reformed Church in Mere Street, Diss, whilst the work takes place.

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