A BOXING club has won its battle to open on an industrial estate.
Gym bosses spent £5,500 revamping a derelict warehouse in Bowlers Croft, on the Cranes Industrial Estate, in Basildon, only to be told, in November, they had been refused planning permission.
Basildon Council said it was against its policy to allowbusiness premises to be used for leisure, because it could result in the loss of an employment site.
Coaches at Holland Shaw ABC, which was already open, lodged an appeal and took their fight to a Government planning inspector who has sided with them.
Richard Adams, one of six trainers now working at the gym, said: “It’s brilliant we have finally got our planning permission and can get up and running properly. We didn't expect the process to take so long.”
Former world champion Terry Marsh is one of the coaches training youngsters at the gym, which has the backing of the National Association of Boys’ Clubs and the Amateur Boxing Association.
Mr Adams said: “Boxing teaches youngsters confidence and respect. In a fight you have got to have control, and that is what boxing is all about.
“It’s a really positive things, and gets youngsters off the streets and learning new skills.”
Holland ShawABC had been told by council bosses to look for alternative premises in the town centre, but rents and business rates proved too high.
Planning inspector Sheila Holden found the benefits of the boxing club opening on the industrial estate justified a breach of policy.
She said: “I have found an amateur boxing club of the type envisaged would not be a ‘main town centre use’, that requires a town centre location.
“I also consider the proposal would provide some benefits to the local community...
the change of use would give rise to a small loss of employment land, but that would not significantly reduce the availability of employment land in the borough.
“I conclude the benefits of the scheme would outweigh the loss of employment space.”