Club update: Temporary venue on the horizon for all groups
Dear parents, families and all supporters of Honiton Gymnastics Club,
We are on the verge of (hopefully) securing a temporary lease for Honiton Gymnastics Club to operate from the former Carpetright store on Heath Retail Park in Honiton.
It’s not as big as our previous venue, but with some tweaks to our previous layout and some creative ideas, we hope to be able to run all of our previous classes for competition, recreational, Gym-Crazy, PAYG, adult, and Turbo Toddlers/Fun4Baby from here. We also hope to start birthday parties again on Saturday afternoons.
This is potentially very exciting news for us. It’s an opportunity to get recreational gymnastics classes back on track, bring all Honiton gymnasts back under one roof, and leave out our equipment (without needing to move and put out mats every session). However, the reason we’re not getting too excited just yet is because—as we know from experience, particularly over the past four months—things don’t always go exactly as planned. Please, therefore, read the below points carefully so that you are fully in the picture about Honiton Gymnastics Club’s current situation and are aware of all the information we are able to share publicly.
Why hasn’t Honiton Gymnastics Club officially confirmed this information before?
We’ve had a number of people asking, since before Christmas, if Honiton Gymnastics Club will move into the former Carpetright store. This has always been our preferred short-term option, but it has taken four months to get to this ‘almost confirmed’ state.
Why has it taken so long?
We originally looked at the site in November, but it was not in a fit state to move into. Since then:
- The site has undergone two stages of repair and maintenance
- We’ve had lengthy discussions with the owners
- We’ve appointed legal representatives
- There has been a considerable amount of paperwork
- ‘Change of use’ approval is required from EDDC
- We’ve had to do this while keeping competition groups running as smoothly as possible.
Why can’t Honiton Gymnastics Club immediately guarantee that we will be moving into this site?
We’d like to confirm that we are moving in as soon as possible. However, we’re understandably cautious and won’t make promises until the final paperwork is signed.
Planning/change of use approval: why can’t Honiton Gymnastics Club sign the final documents yet? What are we waiting for?
- Planning approval: Honiton Gymnastics Club will only be allowed to use the former Carpetright store for gymnastics use if and when East Devon District Council’s planning department gives permission for a temporary ‘change of use’ of the building from Retail to
- Correct procedures: Although EDDC is very supportive of Honiton Gymnastics Club and our endeavors, the council must still follow all the correct procedures and carry out a change-of-use consultation before making a decision on whether or not this will be permitted.
- Application submitted: The owners of the site (Aviva Investors) have submitted an application for temporary change of use, which was placed on the EDDC system last week. We now have to wait.
Why didn’t Honiton Gymnastics Club wait until we have official confirmation before sending this email?
We always prefer to be certain of situations before we send out information (rather than raising hopes when we can’t 100% guarantee the outcome). However, we’ve become aware that rumours are circulating about Honiton Gymnastics Club’s possible move into the site. Also, the EDDC planning information is now in the public domain. We’d rather you , our supporters, hear the correct information ‘from the horse’s mouth’ instead of hearing speculation about what may or may not be happening. When Honiton Gymnastics Club was asked to leave Ottery Moor Lane by Tesco in November, some individuals—ignorant of the facts—showed a lack of support for the club and incorrectly spread a message that Honiton Gymnastics Club had been informed about our eviction much earlier. We’re anxious to ensure that this doesn’t happen again, so please only trust information that comes directly to you from Honiton Gymnastics Club Board.
We also did a very short presentation at Honiton Town Council’s planning meeting this evening (Tuesday) to ask for its support for the planning application. Again, this information will be publicly available.
When will Honiton Gymnastics Club tell you more?
As soon as we know the outcome of EDDC’s planning decision and are then able to exchange legal contracts with the site owner we will be eager to get into the building straight away. We will follow our protocol of letting our team of coaches and other staff know first (as soon as possible) before informing all parents and other supporters of the club. This next update will include all information about:
- Class times
- New term dates
- How we will carry over the previous term’s recreational group fees
- Practical details such as parking provision and new drop-off and collection procedures
Please therefore hold off from asking any questions now, as it is still too early for us to accurately answer queries.
How temporary is ‘temporary’?
As positive as the move will be, the owners of the site will only permit Honiton Gymnastics Club to have a contract that has a ‘one-month get-out clause’. This means that it is entirely possible that we could be given as little as one month’s notice to vacate the premises if they find a long-term retail tenant. This is certainly not ideal, but we are prepared to take this risk in order to give Honiton Gymnastics Club a space for all our gymnasts to train again while we work on a long-term solution. Since the site became vacant, the only interest the owners have had to rent the site is from Honiton Gymnastics Club. In their change of use application to EDDC, the owners say that they do not anticipate another retailer wanting to rent the building in the near future (http://planningapps.eastdevon.gov.uk/Planning/StreamDocPage/obj.pdf;jsessionid=1D6CE8D768A18575D3DF76DC4B4F57B7?DocNo=3413575&PDF=true&content=obj.pdf).
What’s happening about a long-term solution?
We are still working hard to secure a permanent home for Honiton Gymnastics Club, alongside a number of other stakeholders who can help us make this possible. However, this is a huge undertaking and something we are determined to get right from the start. We’ll continue to work as fast but diligently as we can on this long-term solution and will send out information to you as and when we are able to do so.
Once again, thank you for your continued support. We hope to have more specific information for you soon and are looking forward to the next stage in Honiton Gymnastics Club’s development.
Honiton Gymnastics Club Board