Put pressure on council, gym pleads
AS chairman of Huntingdon Gymnastics Club, I would like to appeal to your readers to show their support for the fantastic facility we have here in the town. The club has for several months been trying to agree leases with Huntingdon Town Council for the l
AS chairman of Huntingdon Gymnastics Club, I would like to appeal to your readers to show their support for the fantastic facility we have here in the town.
The club has for several months been trying to agree leases with Huntingdon Town Council for the land we need to build an extension. Anyone who knows the gym building will sympathise with the difficulties of running an extremely busy child-friendly facility without proper facilities for waiting, security, changing and showering, let alone sufficient parking.
These issues would all have been addressed with the completion of our Phase 1 extension building which ought to be well under way by now. The planning permission we have for Phase 1, and also for Phase 2, which would be a new gym hall, is dependent on our closing the access from Claytons Way, which is through a housing area.
Now that we come to finalise the leases the town council is saying that we must agree to pay £20,000 (originally they were asking £75,000) to our neighbouring charities, St John Ambulance and the Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre, to use this road - even though it belongs to the town council and even though only the town council can grant us access. We never allowed for this amount of money in our costs and have been trying to persuade the council to change its mind. We now have a letter from the people who were funding the Phase 1 extension, Cambridgeshire Horizons, saying that, if we are still in this stand-off position in January, they will have to "re-prioritise" the funding into other projects. We are face losing all that money and hope even now to persuade the council to grant us leases so that we can convince our funders that we are ready to go.
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I cannot understand how the council can take this stance when the objectives of both the club and the council appear to be so close and when we all know how much youth facilities in the town are needed and are yet unsupported.
This issue will be discussed at the next meeting of the finance committee tomorrow (Thursday). Please show your support for all the years of service the club has given to the children and young people of the town by contacting your local councillor and lobbying on our behalf.
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Chairman of trustees
Huntingdon Gymnastics Club