HUNTINGDON Olympic Gymnastics Club is hoping to play a major part in Britain s preparations for the 2012 London games with a brand new £3million sports complex. The club has submitted a planning application to Huntingdonshire District Council to build a s

An illustration of the proposed complex

HUNTINGDON Olympic Gymnastics Club is hoping to play a major part in Britain's preparations for the 2012 London games with a brand new £3million sports complex.

The club has submitted a planning application to Huntingdonshire District Council to build a state-of-the-art extension to its premises at Claytons Way, Huntingdon.

If successful, the club hopes to raise the £3million-plus needed to complete the work through lottery and grant applications and support from local backers.

Head coach Paul Hall said the club is crying out for the expansion.

"At the moment we have a situation where elite athletes can be training at one end of the gym and children aged for or five at the other. It's not an ideal scenario."

Should the application be approved, the new sports hall would house more casual users while the existing building would be revamped for the use of elite gymnasts.

The club has four members who competed at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, including 17-year-old Louis Smith, who is Commonwealth and European junior champion on the pommel horse.

Mr Hall added: "We have some fantastic talent at the gym and when 2012 comes around any of our gymnasts from 12 upwards could be involved and they desperately need the new facilities."

The plans make provisions for an extra 98 parking spaces, between 60 and 70 of which will be for occasional use only and planted with grass. The primary access to the facility will be switched from Claytons Way to Mayfield Road.

The new hall would also be environmentally friendly and have a grass roof.

The club currently has more than 400 members ranging in age from just two up to 50 years old, but hundreds more people are on the waiting list for membership.

Mr Hall said: "We just cannot accommodate all the people who want to use the gym.

"People travel from as far afield as Milton Keynes and Peterborough to use our facilities which gives an indication of how popular we are.

"Everyone has been very supportive, from local residents to the town council, and we hope the application will be approved and we can get on with building a fantastic facility for Huntingdon to be proud of.