What sort of building do you train in?

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Apr 24, 2008
Very interested to know what sort of building clubs are training in, particularly in the UK. Our club in Kendal is in a small industrial unit which we rent off the Mint Cake factory. We would like to move to larger premises but our local council refuses to allow us to use any other industrial unit in the town (even though we are already in one). We visit numerous other gym clubs around the country, many of which also train in industrial units. When you think about it, bearing in mind the amount of space you need to run a gym club, there is little alternative to this sort of building. Just interested to know what other clubs do, and what help or hindrance they have had from their local councils.
Our head coach bought ours. It is an old garage. Bigger than your present space, maybe about double I think. She put an extension on the back for clearance for the bars. She had to do a lot of work to deal with the pits (Not gym ones the ones for looking under cars!!!)

THe UK authorities are way stricter than ours, in fact beyond planning persmission there were no real issues, as both the garage and the gym are commercial enterprises.

THere is a coach on here called Marie83, she and her club have just moved into a new buidling, she might have some insight for you. I think she is down south.

Hope all is well with you.

As Bog says, we have just moved into an industrial unit - It has taken many many years and luck to get what we needed (not exactly what we wanted, but just about big enough!)

We started looking for new premises in about 2004. We approached the council who told us that we would not get 'change of use' on a building on an industrial estate, and told us to look into educational buildings instead (We never did this as we were already in a school and it just wasn't working for us!) So we persevered...
Skip to 2009. After many many viewings we looked at an industrial unit which was right next door to a judo club.
We had many conversations with the local council again. They argued that the judo club had been there for many years, before the new legislation had come in that sports clubs could not be housed on an industrial estate, so we still didn't really stand a chance. (We didn't really accept this!) We set up a meeting with 2 people on the council who we managed to convince it was a good idea to allow us to move in! They informed us that since the government had changed, there had been a change in thinking - there were far too many industrial units standing empty so all uses would now be considered! We were also in luck, for the fact that the 'blast zone' for a chemical company up the road had recently been reduced and the unit we wanted was no longer included in it! We decided to spend the money and apply for change of use. We had to do our homework - we stated that the estate was in a deprived area and we were keen to get the local school children in to use the gym either for free or at a reduced rate. We worked out exactly how many cars could be parked outside the building etc etc.
From then on, things moved pretty quickly. We kept in touch with the sport development team and the councillors we had the original meeting with. One of them was actually on the committee which decided whether we would get change of use so he couldn't really tell us anything, except 'it's looking good'!
In August 2010 our application was accepted and we got the keys on 16th September!

I'd say keep persevering, get in touch with absolutely anyone who can help and keep in touch with them. Find other sports club's on estates in you area, or even fitness gyms and if possible find out how they managed to get there! Get in touch with someone on the planning committee on your council. Find out what the council want to do such as regenerating deprived areas etc. Do anything you can to get what you want!!! It's hard work, but so worth it in the end.

It's happening more and more these days so don't give up and don't take no for an answer!
We have had multiple premises due to an uncanny amount of unfortunate events but now we are in an old fire engine garage but are apparently moving next year.
Marie83, thanks for all the interesting information about your process. We seem to be in a very similar situation to you, in that there are many units in Kendal that are free. Our council, howevr, has refused to budge. We have support from our local MP and an ex mayor, both of whom have personally visited the council to put forward our case. They have argued that there is an appropriate industrial estate with (uncannily enough) a judo club on it and a 'Fun for kids', even though it is not apparently suitable for a gym club due to the danger that would be caused by kids running round in front of all the lorries!! We will, as you say, keep persevering, as we cannot continue to progress as we would like to in our current space, and we will get somewhere one day.

My question was particularly aimed at trying to find out just how many clubs there are in industrial units. Other than schools or leisure centres I can't think of any other type of building that would be suitable. Neither can our council, as it refuses (or can't) offer any alternative suggestion.

At least we are pretty secure in our current premises, unlike gymgurl, who sounds like she has had a horrendous time moving premises so often.
UKVegan look up Bury Gymnastics club/school, there gym in a sports centre burnt down and they relocated to an industrial building a few years back. They have a great program, perhaps you could email their coaches and ask how they went about it.Many clubs in the US and Canada are in Industrial estates as the buildings are cheaper and big enough. Sounds like your council is being pig headed. It is a real shame that they cannot see what a great activity you bring to the local youth.But wouldn't you miss that sweet smell, stinky gym feet just do not compare.
The gym I train at used to be a hockey arena, and recently celebrated it's 50th anniversary! It's fantastic - high ceilings, nice and
big, and we even use to old zamboni room for birthday parties :)
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