Gym club seeks a new home in Bognor after Sidlesham site turned down

A gym club hopes to turn a disused ambulance station in Bognor Regis into a base for its talented young gymnasts.

The Academy of Gym (TAG). SUS-180423-102554001
The Academy of Gym (TAG). SUS-180423-102554001

The Academy of Gym (TAG) has been trying for months to find a permanent base in the area for its 170 members, some of whom are already representing Sussex at a national level.

Following a refusal of planning permission for a warehouse in Sidlesham earlier this year, the not-for-profit group has applied for a change of use at the former ambulance station in Chichester Road.

Kris Dorney, who runs the club, said: “Having a dedicated training facility and a base to call ‘home’ would benefit all our members and give future local participants the opportunity to experience the all-round health benefits that this sport can bring.

“The inclusive recreational classes could be vastly expanded so that many more local children and adults can take part and it would bring a positive impact on the local community.”

The club offers both recreation and competitive gymnast training from beginner to elite squad level.

Kris said the club currently rented facilities in Bognor and Chichester but the halls and leisure centres lacked sprung floors and other equipment needed for training at a high level.

Not having a permanent base also presents a time constraint for youngsters, who have to travel between venues, and TAG now ‘lacks the capacity to expand further’, she said.

Regis gymnastics, in Durban Road, has formally objected to TAG’s plan on the basis of traffic issues in the area and that the base would have ‘limited benefit to residents’ as TAG’s focus on competitive training would not leave time for alternative disciplines.

Part of the objection read: “There is still some capacity within Regis Gymnastics, which will be filled once staff are trained, so a second facility in the town is not needed.”

See Arun District Council application reference BR/280/18/PL.