London

Anger at Barnet Council's plan to axe Copthall diving facilities

Chloe Hackett (left) with Tom Daley
Image caption Chloe Hackett has long been an admirer of Olympic diver Tom Daley

Children inspired by Team GB's diving successes at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics are set to lose their chance to take part in the sport due to council cuts.

Barnet Council plans to demolish Copthall Leisure Centre and open two new sites - with no diving facilities.

A council document published last year showed it would cost an extra £676,000 to keep the centre's diving boards.

The authority said it would look again at the plan after a petition opposing it gathered 2,000 signatures.

Both the Tom Daley Diving Academy and the Barnet Copthall diving club are based at the leisure centre.

The Tom Daley Academy launched at the London Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park in east London in 2014 and now has 500 divers registered at different centres across the capital.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Copthall Leisure Centre is due to be replaced with two new facilities

Barnet Copthall diving club member Chloe Hackett, 11, told BBC London: "There's a lot of us here who dream of diving for Great Britain.

"If the diving pool shuts we don't have as big a chance to achieve our dreams."

The leisure centre is to be demolished and replaced with two new centres in a £30m project, but the diving facilities are not set to be replaced.

Parents say if the centre closes the nearest diving facilities will be 15 to 20 miles away.

Wendy Kravetz, who is campaigning to keep the diving pool, said: "We don't have another diving facility in the borough... it doesn't feel right it's being taken away."

Barnet Council said the new leisure centres would be "state of the art" and offer "a varied mix of facilities, which are fully supported by Barnet Copthall's swimming club".

Great Britain has won gold, silver and bronze medals at the Rio Olympics.

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