Second planning permission attempt for gym and community hub in Sealand
Plans for a new gym and community hub in Sealand that would be visited by professional athletes, create new jobs and keep children away from gang culture have been resubmitted.
In April Flintshire Council’s planning department rejected an application to change the use of a unit on Drome Road to create a fitness centre, café and barber.
Submitted by Sports for Champions UK (CIC), a not-for-profit organisation based in Deeside, it was hoped regular sessions would be held there by Team GB and elite athletes.
But reasons given by the council for refusal ranged from concerns about a lack of parking space to potential adverse impact on the character of the area.
A covering letter submitted with the latest planning application states that the applicants have taken council advice before applying again.
It says: “The applicants were advised to re-submit the application with a view to reduce the scale of the proposal and to open the café facility to the general public and in particular to the employees working on the Industrial Estate at Sealand.
“It’s important to note that Sports for Champions UK differ from the ordinary gym which is open to the public.
“Sports for Champions UK (CIC) is a not-for-profit organisation based in Deeside, they are a community interest company who have some volunteers and a small amount of funding, but they also employ 13 people and if permission is approved for this unit, it will create additional employment.
“This venture for a gymnasium would provide disadvantaged young people with an opportunity to get active and train with elite athletes. Classes will include free fitness lessons which not only keeps them active and off the streets but also teaches them how to respect others and themselves.
“They have partnered with Coleg Cambria and local children who have dropped out of school and are in transition of not knowing what to do with their lives, children who are extremely impressionable and vulnerable will now be offered the opportunity to experience the gym alongside coaching them to lead a positive life.
“They will be mentored by professional athletes who have come from a similar background but chose sport instead of joining a gang, with the athletes’ and colleges’ help they will put these young people through their personal training foundation courses level 2 and 3. They will then be able to offer them a full-time job as personal trainers in the gym.”
Under the plans, the gym would be open to the public during lunch time 12pm-2pm, before work 7am-9am and after working hours 5pm–7pm.
The Community Café will also be available to the public and will provide hot food takeaway as well as a limited number of seats within the café area.
Eight parking spaces would also be provided.
The covering letter adds: “The community hub will make a positive impact within the community for people of all ages to use, especially young people that have been identified by local Police Community Support Officers as vulnerable.
“They can use the facilities free of charge after school to keep them away from gang culture which is a growing problem in the area seeing older gang members travelling form Manchester and Liverpool area to recruit these kids to manage their county line drug operation.
“They will also be offering free gym memberships to people suffering from mental health problems referred from their GP, as exercise improves overall wellbeing and promotes the release of natural endorphins boosting mood and self-esteem.
“The community café will be offering free food to families struggling to feed themselves, anything left over will be donated to the local hostel that offers homeless people a roof over their heads free of charge for the night. The venture is truly inspiring and much needed, it offers a safe haven, kindness and hope for young people.
“The site will also be available outside of teaching/coaching hours for the general public to use, and the company have decided to open the café up to provide food and takeaways to people working on the industrial estate where a special discount will be applied, providing an even greater community benefit.”
Flintshire Council planners will make a decision on the plans at a future date.
By Rory Sheehan – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).