Asbestos found at Diss Youth and Community Centre as £40,000 improvement works start

Diss, Norfolk. Diss Youth and Community Centre on Shelfanger Road
Diss, Norfolk. Diss Youth and Community Centre on Shelfanger Road

A £40,000 grant for improvements at Diss Youth and Community Centre has helped to uncover an asbestos problem at the site.

The youth centre was temporarily closed on Tuesday after workmen carrying out the first stage of improvements found asbestos in the window panels on the top floor of the facility.

Diss town councillor Keith Kiddie, who is part of the centre’s steering group, said it was a “minimal amount of asbestos” but that they closed the centre immediately as a precautionary measure.

The windows were being replaced with double glazing to make the building more energy efficient.

Councillor Kiddie said they replaced the downstairs windows with no problems, but when they were replacing the upstairs windows, asbestos was found in the panels below the windows.

The downstairs floor of the centre was reopened on Wednesday, but the upstairs area, where the offices and kitchen are located, remains closed until further notice. A full inspection will be carried out and work will continue as soon as possible.

Diss Mayor Graham Minshull stressed at Wednesday’s night town council meeting that the centre is safe to use. He praised town council staff for their diligence and competence in dealing with the situation.

The community centre has secured more than £40,000 of funding from the Norfolk Community Fund, South Norfolk Council, Norfolk County Council’s construction fund, Awards for All and a small amount of developer contribution section 106 money.

As well as improving the windows, the money will pay for new flooring, blinds and a suspended ceiling in the main hall as well as the installation of a lift to the rear of the building, ensuring the centre remains fit for use in future years.