JUMPING THROUGH HOOPS FOR GYM CENTRE
Celebrations as ‘desperately needed’ facility is approved
GYMNASTS are jumping for joy after the green light was given to build a ‘desperatelyneeded’ £750,000 centre to meet the rising demand of a popular children’s club.
Chiltern District Council's planning committee recently gave the go-ahead for Abbey Gym Club to build a gymnastics centre at Sprinters Leisure Centre, in Honour End Lane, Prestwood.
The club, founded in 1984, has been operating out of Prestwood Junior School for 25 years and has more than 240 gymnasts participating each week.
It put in the application to build a new community facility because it was ‘desperately needed to meet the local needs,' due to the school being too small to accommodate demand, with a waiting list nearing 300 children.
The club's committee did look at other venues to move to, but they either did not meet the club's needs or they were in the green belt, making development difficult.
In its application, the club said the building will be as small as possible to keep its ‘impact' to a minimum.
However, the council's planning officerdisagreedandrecommended refusal, saying the gymnasium would have a ‘severe impact' on the landscape.
She added the council's policy is to refuse indoor sports facilities in the green belt unless criteria, which she said this application failed to meet, are satisfied.
Despite the planning officer's concerns, councillors granted permission and the club may now begin building the new club.
The new centre will allow the club to hold bigger classes more often.
The plans were welcomed by villagers and attracted 32 letters of support, including backing from Great Missenden Parish Council, which gave reasons including an opportunity for children; huge demand; benefit to the village; a sympathetic design; sufficient car parking; the Olympic legacy; and existing facilities being too small and having insufficient car parking.
Writing to Chiltern District Council, supporter Roger Evans said the club is probably the largest sports club for children in the village and that the gymnasium is a facility required in the area.”
Sue Raynsford, in support of the application, said: “There are many in the community who cannot benefit from the club because of its limited facilities.
"The demand is there and with a proper facility, it'll continue to develop and will become an even greater benefit to Prestwood and Great Missenden.”
However, the application also attracted six letters of objection, which asked for refusal on the grounds of increased traffic and ‘inappropriate' design of the building in the area of outstanding natural beauty.
Facilities: Abbey Gym Club has been granted permission to build a much-needed
£750,000 gymnastic centre at Sprinters Leisure Centre