Phoenix Gym at 'last hurdle' for controversial Fifield move

Tara O'Connor

Tara O'Connor

The ‘last hurdle’ for Phoenix Gym’s long awaited move is to prove that drainage for the site can be managed.

The gymnastics club, which is currently based in Water Oakley, has been granted planning permission to move to a new site in Fifield, north of Longlea Nursing Home.

When it was approved in August last year, a number of conditions were imposed.

The sixth condition was  to provide a drainage statement which was submitted to the borough in March this year.

The deadline for meeting the conditions was due to expire back in July but a decision has not yet been made by the council on the drainage statement.

Victoria Gibson from the borough’s planning department said the negotiations are being carried out with the applicant to ‘achieve the solution’.

There is no set date for how long this may take.

On September 13, an objection from the Oakley Green and Fifield Community Association (OGAFCA) was uploaded to the planning portal.

The document shows Rod Lord from the group standing in the ditch which water from the site would run into.

The group states this illustrates the ditch, to the east of Fifield Road, is not deep enough to accommodate the extra water.

OGAFCA chairman Grenville Annetts said draining and flooding is the group’s ‘number one issue’ with the gym’s relocation.

“The issue we had was if you put more water in that, it would get full and everywhere upstream would flood,” he said.

“We wondered if they have even actually done a site survey because there are such schoolboy errors.”

The gym has until early next year to leave its current site off Windsor Road which is owned by Farmglade.

Centre director Lynn Bushell said: “We are still waiting for the outcome

“We have involved expert consultants and who we believe are giving us the best advice.

“Clearly there is a lot of passion behind our move and if there were other places to go, we would go there.”

She continued: “For us this feels like the last hurdle but it has taken an extremely long time to get here.”

The gym is still raising money to fund the move.

The target is £1.8million with the  total currently standing at nearly a £1million.

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