Boxing club are fighting for their lives

WEST HAM Boys Boxing Club have come out fighting against a plan to move them out of their famous gymnasium situated at the rear of Plaistow s Black Lion pub - and build flats on the site, writes LEN WHALEY. The gym, the Hammers home for nearly 80 years, h

WEST HAM Boys Boxing Club have come out fighting against a plan to move them out of their famous gymnasium situated at the rear of Plaistow's Black Lion pub - and build flats on the site, writes LEN WHALEY.

The gym, the Hammers home for nearly 80 years, has become one of the best known landmarks in London boxing.

Hundreds of national champions have been developed under the Hammers banner, including Terry Spinks, who went on to win the Olympic gold medal in Melbourne in 1956.

Club officials are horrified by an application put before Newham council for the planning permission to knock down the gym and build nine flats on the current site.


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Secretary Lianne Jameson is leading the fight and insisted: "The new accommodation we have been offered in a cellar just would not be suitable and it would be doubtful to gain the approval of the ABA, so how on earth could we agree to planning permission when we have a lease until September 2013?

"We have been behind the Black Lion since 1922 and our gym is steeped in history. We have stained glass windows in memory of members that lost their life during the war that are irreplaceable.

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"Why take away something that is a vital part of the community and serves a genuine purpose as well as keeping kids off the streets, giving them somewhere to channel their aggression and teaching them great discipline?

"We have six members in the Newham Sports Academy as prospects for the 2012 Olympic Games, so you would think that Newham Council would want to preserve clubs like ours that are a dying breed.

"As far as I am concerned, there is only one West Ham Boys' Club," she added.

The club have until Wednesday, June 10 to register their protests and ask supporters to send their objections to:

Newham Council Environ-ment Management Division, Town Hall Annexe, 330-354 Barking Road, London, E6 2RT, quoting planning reference: 09/00370/FUL.

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