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Boxing club faces rent hike

PUBLISHED: 10:00 24 September 2009 | UPDATED: 15:23 07 July 2010

A boxing club which has been running for more than 80 years is searching for cash help to cover a massive hike in rent for its premises.

Dereham Boxing Club has for years paid a £1 peppercorn rent but now landlord Breckland Council is asking for a market rent of £9,000 for the building on the Rash's Green Industrial Estate.

A boxing club which has been running for more than 80 years is searching for cash help to cover a massive hike in rent for its premises.

Dereham Boxing Club has for years paid a £1 peppercorn rent but now landlord Breckland Council is asking for a market rent of £9,000 for the building on the Rash's Green Industrial Estate.

The club - which has around 60 members aged eight-35 - is currently working with Breckland officers to look at possible funding sources, including grants and sponsorship.

It is also looking at other sites and one option is putting up new premises on land on Dereham Rugby Club at Moorgate.

Club president and former coach Richard Stearman said he and committee members were determined that the club would not close.

“We have been given assurances from the council that it won't be acting to evict us overnight and we are continuing to work with officers on this,” said Mr Stearman.

Dereham town councillor and Breckland member Robin Goreham said: “This club has been in existence for four generations and now Breckland is using bullying tactics against it in demanding it pays a massive £9,000 rent. Does the authority really want another PR disaster on its hands?

“I cannot understand Breckland Council's position in any way shape or form, it has a duty towards the public. We had a similar situation over the Dereham Silver Band premises and in the end there was a compromise reached and the Band was found alternative accommodation,” he said.

He added: “What is the point in charging the club a rent that it clearly can't pay.”

Mr Goreham said he and fellow councillor Michael Fanthorpe had spoken to Brecklands chief executive Trevor Holden about the issue.

Mr Goreham added: “The council can spend millions of pounds of ratepayers money on a golf club but it cannot find a few thousand pounds to support a club that has been running for over 80 years.”

“I feel strongly that we should be looking after a club like, this not pulling the rug from under it.”

In a statement Breckland Council said it was no longer offering concessionary leases and was working with tenants as and when their leases were due for renewal.

Dereham Boxing Club's lease ends on Saturday and the club had been consistently reminded of this deadline, the statement added.

A council spokesman said the club has benefitted from 13 years of concessionary accommodation worth approximately £74,000 in council-owned commercial property.

Officers from the commercial property and sustainable communities team have been working with the club since January 2008 to offer support and help to make the club more sustainable and increase income.

The Breckland spokesman said: “There are many clubs and organisations throughout Breckland that make use of every opportunity for potential funding so that they can continue to offer benefits for our communities. We very much hope that following a prolonged period of support the Dereham Boxing Club will flourish.”

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