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Boxing club takes first fall over plans
6:00am Friday 13th December 2013 in Echo News
BOXING trainers who want to set up an amateur club to keep children off the streets of Basildon have had their plans thrown out.
Volunteers behind Holland Shaw ABC said they will “fight to the end” to get their gym running after spending £5,500 doing up a derelict warehouse in Bowlers Croft, on the Cranes Industrial Estate.
Basildon Council’s planning officers rejected permission, saying it was against legislation to allow commercial space to be used for leisure facilities.
However, earlier this month Harlow-based Ripped Gym was given the go-ahead to open a heavyweight gym and boxing ring close by.
Kevin Lilley, 35, one of six volunteer trainers, said the refusal flew in the face of the Olympic legacy message.
He said: “It’s ridiculous.
People on the council don’t understand what we are trying to do. This is not a profitable thing. It is to see the kids come through.
“Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua and people like that come from nothing and go on to be champions.
“We are trying to do the same in this area.
“Good people come out of boxing. It teaches them discipline and respect. They could get on the GB squad and travel the world, but without a gym they haven’t got the chance.”
The volunteer trainers also work with professionals. They had been renting space at Eurofitness in Christopher Martin Road, Basildon, to teach youngsters, but with so many asking to be trained, they outgrew the space and decided to open their own venue.
Council officers said planning permission should be straightforward, so volunteers spent months regenerating the derelict rat-infested building.
Mr Lilley added: “It’s like one rule for one and one for another.
If we weren’t in the building it would probably be empty for another year. We are appealing the decision.”
Another trainer, Richard Adams, added: “Up until now it’s cost us nearly £5,500 and we need to spend £3,000 on equipment.
It’s all coming out of our own pockets. To get kicked back like this is a nightmare.”
Richard Moore, councillor responsible for planning, said: “While applications may appear similar, each is considered on its individual merits.
“This includes assessing the circumstances put forward at that time and anything that may be specific to the individual use put forward and the context of the site and surroundings.”
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