A diving group is at risk of folding after asbestos found at its training pool forced its closure.

Crystal Palace Diving Institute has lost £30,000 in fees since the National Sports Centre in Crystal Palace Park closed on September 14.

The centre was due to close for refurbishment on December 1 until next summer and the institute had contingency plans in place to allow divers to continue their training.

However, the sudden closure has put the institute under threat, as it relies on fees from the 400 youngsters who train there to meet running costs.

An eight-strong coaching team at the institute is working to fast-track the best divers aged seven to 15 for the 2012 Olympics.

Among the coaches at the institute, which was set up 22 years ago, is Cheng Yang, China's former Olympic and World Championships coach.

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone stepped in to help the club relocate its dry training centre to a nearby five-a-side pitch after Crystal Palace director of diving Chris Snode wrote to him.

But there are no other pools in London suitable for divers to train at.

The only other pools in the country with the 10m boards which the institute needs are in Southampton and Sheffield.

Three-time Olympic diver Mr Snode said: "We rely on divers' fees. If they don't train, we don't get the fees.

"But we still have the overheads and I have to pay the coaching team I have assembled from around the world, which is one of the best in Europe.

"We have already lost £30,000 and will fold within a week if we don't get an injection of cash very quickly."

Among the 400 divers who train at the institute are several national champions, including 13-year-old Jessica Williams from Erith, who has her sights set on next year's European Championships.

Her mum, Alice Bell, said: "Jessica is going to have to travel to Sheffield to stay on track with her training."

  • Despite our article in last week's Streatham and Croydon Guardians, the London Development Agency (LDA) is not going to delay the submission of its masterplan for Crystal Palace Park.

MPs and local groups backed our campaign for the process to be halted after the LDA went back on a promise made on its website to give the public a chance to give feedback on the masterplan displayed at an exhibition. They said this would happen before the plans are submitted to Bromley Council.

But the LDA said this was a "mistake" and the information on its website was incorrect. They said consultation will not be carried out at this stage and said the application will be submitted to Bromley Council around the same time as the exhibition.

An LDA spokesman said the LDA and Bromley Council will carry out further consultation regarding the details of the masterplan as the planning process develops.

The LDA exhibition displaying its masterplan will take place between October 18 and 31 at Crystal Palace station.

  • What do you think? Have your say using the comment box below.