Norwich gymnastics club left without a home

A Norwich woman who runs a gymnastics club she founded more than 30 years ago has voiced her anger at Norwich City Council's refusal to grant it the use of a disused warehouse for training.

Cherie Alcock, who runs Chermond Gymnastics Club, has had to move venues numerous times and thought a disused warehouse on Whiffler Road, off Drayton Road, could be utilised for her club – former students of whom have gone on to appear in circus shows and competitions across the UK.

They have trained at City Academy Norwich on Earlham Road since being forced to leave their base at the gym of the former Gurney Middle School.

City Academy will no longer be able to accommodate them after a rebuild and Mrs Alcock says she feels let down by the city council which, she claims, does not care.

Mrs Alcock, 63, of Peckover Road, said: 'Norwich City Council should be ashamed of themselves for letting down a well-established group that has been in the city for more than 30 years. We cost the council nothing but provide young people opportunities to achieve. We have had major successes, so why can we not get help?

'I'm thinking of taking a petition to London, or if it means camping out on the City Hall steps I will.'

A city council spokesman said the application was refused because the council felt the 'out-of-centre location wasn't sufficiently justified and would be inaccessible to cyclists and walkers', too far away from bus stops, and would lead to 'unsafe pedestrian and cycling movements through the industrial estate'.

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'Operating the club there would also conflict with the exciting commercial use of the area,' it added.

Mrs Alcock said: 'Their reasons are fickle. We can address them but it will take time and money. Given we provide this for the youth of Norfolk, they should be making provision for us.'

The club has young members currently starring at the Great Yarmouth Hippodrome Circus and is known for working with children from impoverished areas.

The council spokesman said: 'Chermond Gym is a long-established club which does amazing work with young people in Norwich and we are well aware of the challenges it faces in finding suitable premises.

'We recently granted the club's request for a �332 community grant, so it could buy an overhead safety rig and swivels. Our sports and leisure development team has had several discussions with Chermond about its efforts to find a new home.

'Although the application was refused in this instance, Chermond can appeal this decision and we will continue to provide whatever assistance we can.'

Have you got a council-related story for us? Call Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email