The basement underneath The Tower in Cwmbran is being turned into a boxing gym.
A planning application from Bron Afon Community Housing to change the use of the unused area had two objections. Residents said it would increase traffic, cause noise and disturbance, and reduce local house prices.
The application was approved earlier this week by Torfaen Council.
The basement is 184 square metres. The new gym will have a 102 square metre mezzanine floor.
Bron Afon Community Housing ran a consultation event in January 2020. Some of the comments included:
- “I love the idea of the gym. It will make a huge difference to the community. This will have a huge impact on mental wellbeing and I fully support it.”
- “…an 18-year-old shared with us that before joining the boxing club he was not in school, drinking and taking drugs. He said it saved his life and he hasn’t touched anything for over 2 and a half years, adding that he has made new friends and is in college full time.”
- A number of residents from The Tower are keen to volunteer with the club to create legacy and a community hub for the area.
Torfaen Warriors Amateur Boxing Club will lease the room from Bron Afon.
Local councillors said: “The basement of the Tower block is currently not used but could and should be a valuable community resource. I have supported this boxing club through my small schemes allowance and it is impossible not to be impressed by the enthusiasm and professionalism of the volunteers who give so much of their time to run it. Their current premises are not conducive to helping the club grow and the access makes it almost impossible to attract disabled participants. I cannot speak highly enough of this club and will support this application in any way I can. Should officers consider refusal I shall certainly expect the application to be taken to planning committee where I intend to speak on its behalf.”
The highways officer had concerns about off-street parking in Southville but the applicant said they would allocate five spaces in the car park under The Tower. A condition of the approval was for the block’s service yard to be available as a dropoff/pick-up area for visitors.
The gym can open from 10am to 9pm.