It’s taken two tries at planning permission and months of effort, a community gym in Chichester has finally been given the go-ahead to stay in the city.
With the business left ‘hanging by a thread’, owner Jason Mines reapplied, this time with the backing of the city council and more evidence the gym would help create jobs.
Jason said: “It’s definitely been the happiest day I’ve had in a very long time and it was extremely nice to feel good news for a change I actually forgot what it felt like.
“It’s been a very stressful and emotional journey and a journey I wouldn’t want to go on again but the feeling I had on finding out the decision made it all worth it.
“I’m so excited to get back working with the troubled kids in the area and trying to make a difference to the community.
“I’m extremely grateful to the council for making the right decision and letting me build the community gym Chichester desperately needs
“I’m also extremely grateful to the Observer’s support with this throughout the whole journey.”
Grit Gym has been operating out of a smaller, temporary unit since its lease on its former base in Station Approach expired in September.
Planning officers noted the extra space could allow the gym to add another 300-400 people to its 2,000 members.
The gym had been looking for a suitable site for four years and the plan was initially refused on the basis the office site had not been marketed for employment use for a sufficent period of time.
Although the marketing period still fell short, officers found the site had had ‘very little interest’ and the policy was outweighed by the benefit of the gym creating around 23 jobs.