Rent rise threatens the future of boxing club

NEWHAM Council have been proud to give their support to the Olympic Games taking place in the borough, but Newham Boxing Club, with youngsters in the gym aiming for success in the 2012 Games, are accusing the authority of trying to close them down! The cl

NEWHAM Council have been proud to give their support to the Olympic Games taking place in the borough, but Newham Boxing Club, with youngsters in the gym aiming for success in the 2012 Games, are accusing the authority of trying to close them down!

The club, based in Stratford's Church Street, just a short distance from the 2012 Games site, have been shocked that with a new lease, the Newham Council are demanding a rent of �10,000 per year - a sum around TEN TIMES their current payment.

"We were expecting an increase in rent under the new lease, but to ask us to pay around �200 per week is ridiculous - it will close us down," said club official Joe Chapman, who pointed out that the present rent and rates amounts to little more than �1,000 per year.

"It looks as if the council want to throw us out and redevelop the site, which already includes a derelict building," added Chapman about the club started by his father Ron, with Bob Galloway in 1981.


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The club have been on the site for 20 years after an eight-year spell at West Ham's Memorial Road and over that time have proved an outstanding conveyor belt for boxing talent.

Dozens of national champions at schoolboy, junior ABA and national boys' clubs tournaments have been produced under the successful training team at the Newham gym.

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Many top prospects have gone on to earn international success wearing England colours.

"We had four of our boxers who reached the national junior ABA finals this year and all of them will be aiming at earning their chance in the Olympic squad," said Chapman, whose youngsters continue to impress, as John Coyle won the 2009 national title, with Liam Desmond, George Moughton and George Veness runners up.

"How does it look for their future in boxing if the council is trying to close us down?"

The club are urgently seeking talks with councillors to discuss the new rent with the current lease due to expire in July.

Coincidentally, the threat to the club comes just a few weeks after their successful neighbours, West Ham Boys Boxing Club, were also battling against the threat of losing their famous gym on the site of Plaistow's Black Lion pub.

The West Ham officials were worried that a redevelopment plan constructing flats on the site would leave them without a suitable home.

However, the Hammers were relieved when pub landlord Tom Friel withdrew the planning application.

Now, Newham boxing officials hope that somebody at the council will also have second thoughts about the cash demands of the new lease which threatens the future of the club.

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