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Ground-breaking ceremony marks start of work on new £12.6m leisure centre

North Norfolk District Council leader Sarah Bütikofer, front second left, with Mayor of Sheringham, Madeleine Ashcroft, dig the ground to mark the official start of construction of the  new multi-million pound Splash leisure centre. Front row from left, project manager, Carl Ellis; Sarah and Madeleine;  and architects from Saunders Boston, Henry Villanueva, and Aylin Buhur. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

North Norfolk District Council leader Sarah Bütikofer, front second left, with Mayor of Sheringham, Madeleine Ashcroft, dig the ground to mark the official start of construction of the new multi-million pound Splash leisure centre. Front row from left, project manager, Carl Ellis; Sarah and Madeleine; and architects from Saunders Boston, Henry Villanueva, and Aylin Buhur. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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A ground-breaking ceremony marked the official start of construction work on a £12.6m leisure centre in Sheringham.

Project manager, Carl Ellis, left, with North Norfolk District Council leader Sarah Bütikofer, second left; Mayor of Sheringham, Madeleine Ashcroft, centre; and architects from Saunders Boston, Henry Villanueva, and Aylin Buhur, with a shovel of earth to mark the official start of construction of the  new multi-million pound Splash leisure centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYProject manager, Carl Ellis, left, with North Norfolk District Council leader Sarah Bütikofer, second left; Mayor of Sheringham, Madeleine Ashcroft, centre; and architects from Saunders Boston, Henry Villanueva, and Aylin Buhur, with a shovel of earth to mark the official start of construction of the new multi-million pound Splash leisure centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

North Norfolk District Councillors (NNDC) joined staff from Metnor Construction and Everyone Active at the event on Tuesday, October 29.

The existing 31-year old Splash leisure centre will be replaced with a state-of-the art facility with new features.

It will include a six-lane, 25-metre pool, a 13-metre learner pool with an adjustable depth floor, fitness suite, community rooms, multi-purpose studios, a Changing Places toilet, a spin studio and a café.

Working with partners including Sport England, the council wants to increase participation in healthy activities, and NNDC leader Sarah Bütikofer said: "This is a significant investment in leisure facilities in north Norfolk and demonstrates the council's commitment to supporting the health and well-being of its residents at a time when many councils are unable to do the same.

An artist's impression of the exterior of the new Sheringham leisure centre. Image: NNDCAn artist's impression of the exterior of the new Sheringham leisure centre. Image: NNDC

"With the range of facilities on offer, I am looking forward to watching a centre being built that we can all be proud of and that will be enjoyed for many years to come."

Dan Hicks, area contract manager at Everyone Active, said it was an exciting moment.

He added: "We are dedicated to improving local people's health and well-being by offering a wide range of ways to get active.

"The new centre will allow us to do just that, with state-of-the-art new facilities for the community."

Splash will remain open while the new centre is built on a different part of the site. It's due to open for summer 2021.

The centre has attracted 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 with 2,142 signatures, calling on it to refurbish the existing centre rather than build a new one.

But the authority refused to debate the petition, pointing out that only 429 signatories were from north Norfolk, when the required threshold was 750.

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

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