Worle boxing gym fighting to stay open after temporary planning consent lapses

Members and younsters at Warrior Gym with owner Dean Lewis (far right) the Gym could be forced to do

Members and younsters at Warrior Gym with owner Dean Lewis (far right) the Gym could be forced to down. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

Losing a boxing club in Worle would be ‘damaging to the community’ according to its owner.

Dean Lewis has been running Warrior Gym, an amateur boxing club and martial arts school, in the Coker Road industrial estate since 2013, but its temporary planning consent has lapsed.

The 550sq.m unit has two floors and is the home of the Weston Warriors kick boxing academy.

The premises had been untouched from the originally approved use as an industrial unit since November 2011.

National planning policies state any industrial unit should be used for industrial purposes.

More than 550 supporting comments had been submitted on North Somerset Council’s planning portal when the Mercury went to press.

Dean said: “No-one in their right mind should allow us to close down, we do so much for the community of Worle and beyond.

“We are a big family here, people come from Bristol and Yeovil because they feel comfortable and we give them a safe place to relax and exercise.

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“There is nothing in this area which gets people off the streets, there are no youth clubs, so it would be a big loss to the area.”

The gym employs three full-time staff members and five part-time and caters for all abilities by training kids as young as four years old, up to adults in their 70s.

One-to-one training is offered to all 400 members and specialist sessions also take place for people with learning disabilities, Autism and other health conditions.

A number of professional boxers are based at the gym including Commonwealth champion, Ash Lane, Dean Dodge and Mark Godbeer.

Pupils of nearby Priory Community School use the facilities and a handful of youngsters have participated in national boxing championships.

The gym also offers work experience to students from Weston College and the Voyage Learning Campus.

Dean added: “There are insufficient facilities in Worle for young people and the loss of the gym would be terrible for everyone, especially those who have worked so hard to build it as a reputable gym.

“It is better to have the unit used for leisure than for it to be left empty.”

Dean will speak before the council’s planning and regulatory meeting on May 22.

To comment on the planning application, type 19/P/0107/FUL into the council’s planning portal.