Support floods in to keep Chichester’s Grit Gym

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

A gym that provides ‘a family’ as well as facilities to residents and sports trainers could close if it fails to get planning permission for a base in Terminus Road.

Letters of support have poured in to back the application for Grit Gym, which has to find a new home before its lease ends in September.

Kids instructor Rowan Bailey, Grit Gym manager Jason Mines and instructors Jack Magee and James Mardell

Kids instructor Rowan Bailey, Grit Gym manager Jason Mines and instructors Jack Magee and James Mardell

Manager Jason Mines, 37, hopes the new building will continue to help Chichester as a community and build sporting careers but the district council has to approve any plans to change the Willow Park building to a leisure facility.

Jason said: “I just don’t think the council realises how important their decision is.

“I’m literally just hanging on by a thread, if they say no, I’m shut. I’m not getting any sleep.”

He said he would not have time to appeal a refusal before the gym has to leave its current site in Station Approach in September due to a rent increase.

Without a base in the city, his customers and those who work at the gym will have to find somewhere else and many have built professional sporting careers at the club.

One of the 130 comments in support of the plan is from Laura Hill, who wrote: “Grit Gym means so much to so many people.

“I for one, train there, my partner trains there, he is in the midst of his MMA career and the gym plays a massive part in that.

“Not only the coaches but the owners help towards motivation and they are truly amazing people.

“If this gym was to close hundreds of people would be lost. The people at Grit have welcomed me in with open arms to their family.”

A father-of-three, Jason set up the gym four years ago and said he has poured his ‘heart and soul’ into the project.

He said he wanted to rebrand the gym to become a community gym in name as well as practice and use the extra space to provide free classes for disabled children and the elderly.

Last year, he said the gym also raised £47,000 for charity.

In his spare time, Jason offers football training to young people, provided they behave at school, and he sees sport as a key way of helping people.

He said: “I love turning people’s lives around and that’s what it’s all about.”

See planning application 18/01357/FUL

It comes as a not-for-profit gym club The Academy of Gym was refused permission for a base in Sidlesham, despite a petition and numerous letters of support.