Grit Gym tries again for planning permission in Chichester as manager vows he ‘won’t give up’

Grit Gym members and trainers are hoping the gym will be able to keep going with a new premises. SUS-180620-093535001
Grit Gym members and trainers are hoping the gym will be able to keep going with a new premises. SUS-180620-093535001

A Chichester gym at risk of closure is continuing to fight for a home in the city.

Grit Gym had been ‘hanging by a thread’ since it was refused planning permission to use a vacant unit in Terminus Road in August, with a temporary unit found for some of its activities.

Its plea for a new base saw hundreds of letters of support and the planning committee was split, with the decision made in a casting vote from the chairman.

Now owner Jason is reapplying with the same application, which he hopes will be stronger now the site has been marketed unsuccessfully for a longer period of time.

He said: “I really hope the council do realise what they lost before and that they made a mistake and don’t make another.

“I will have to go somewhere else if they don’t give it to me this time, I will have to go to Bognor or Havant and I don’t want to, I’ve built it up in Chichester, I like it in Chichester.”

He said the business was ‘hanging by a thread’ after the refusal decision as the current location was only usable for a few months and too small for a large number of the gym’s activities, particularly those that supported young adults and people with disabilities.

Jason said fitness and martial arts helped teenagers find a healthy focus, confidence and community.

“I know this works,” he said, “I really want to do it, I’m not going to give up.”

The reapplication has already had a letter of support from Rebecca Parfoot who said she was ‘deeply saddened’ at the loss of the gym and her friend. who uses a wheelchair, was no longer able to train because the temporary site was upstairs.

She said: “Chichester is missing this community gym and all the good that it serves and the people it helps on a daily basis.”

The original application from Grit Gym was refused on the grounds the site, Plot 4B had not been marketed for long enough as an empty unit to be converted from employment use.

Jason is optimistic the council will now agree, given it was only turned down on the narrowest of margins.

“We never lost, it was six [votes] to six, we drew,” he said. “We’re going for a rematch.”