Concerns raised over safety of Diss ‘MUGA’

Diss, Norfolk. MUGA on Park Road ANL-140907-135237001
Diss, Norfolk. MUGA on Park Road ANL-140907-135237001

Concerns have been raised over the location of the well-used ‘MUGA’ in Diss Park.

Built at a cost of around £65,000 raised from funds raised though housing developments, known as section 106 money, the five-a-side football pitch and regulation-size basketball court was opened earlier this year.

But according to documents submitted to South Norfolk Council, balls were landing in the busy A1066 Park Road “within a matter of hours” of the facility opening. It was closed and panels were subsequently added to the structure in May, increasing the height of the south side from 2.5m to 3.8m at a cost of £8,500.

The planning application, submitted to South Norfolk Council in June last year, received no objection from Norfolk County Council Highways.

The council has recognised that balls landing in the road was continuing despite the new measures.

The idea of overhead netting was discussed but ultimately rejected, for fears of people climbing up the net or throwing litter onto its top, while it was agreed by the committee to monitor the situation until the end of the summer, and to ascertain the council’s liability.

Diss Town Mayor Keith Kiddie said: “Without doubt it has been a huge success. It is well used, it is popular, the kids love it and we went for a MUGA like that in response to a huge amount of surveys.”

Mr Kiddie added the installation firm said that in its experience, the issue of balls leaving the court dies down quickly.

Mr Kiddie said statistics showed the balls were more likely to leave the sides rather than at each end.

Diss resident Alan Crowest wrote to the Diss Express in December expressing his concerns over the location of the MUGA, describing it at the time as ‘an accident waiting to happen’.

“It is a fantastic facility, just in the wrong place and the wrong way round,” he told the Express this week. “As a facility it is excellent and it has been well made - but there’s been a lack of forethought.”

Town clerk Deborah Sarson said insurers were aware of potential issues, and risk assessments had been carried out. She added that the proposed location plan was printed in the town council newsletter and invited comments, but none were received.