Homeless gymnastics club’s anger that old Honiton base has yet to be sold two weeks on from shock eviction

PUBLISHED: 11:06 07 December 2018 | UPDATED: 11:13 07 December 2018

Rainbow Store in Honiton. Ref mhh 0746-03-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Rainbow Store in Honiton. Ref mhh 0746-03-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

A Honiton club made homeless in 11 days said it could have had more ‘breathing space’ to try and find an alternative venue to train its 500 plus members.

Honiton Gymnastics Club, which now trains in at the town’s community college, the Community Use Building and sports hall at Honiton Leisure Centre, was evicted from its base in Ottery Moor Lane on November 19.

The eviction took place on the day before its landlord Tesco was set to complete the site’s sale to Taylor Wimpey.

However, more than two weeks on, the sale is yet to be completed – to the annoyance of club board member James Reddy.

Tesco have apologised for the delay, but maintained the club knew it would have to leave its base since December 2017.

Mr Reddy said: “We were told by Tesco that the furthest they could push the date of the sale back to was Tuesday, November 20. It’s disappointing to see, two weeks on, the sale is still yet to be completed - it is 14 days that our youngsters could have continued to train worry-free while we tried to find a suitable alternative venue to hold our sessions.

“Instead, our time and effort was taken to dismantle and pack away our gear into eight shipping containers in just four days.”

A spokesman for Tesco said: “We had fully expected the sale of the site to have concluded sooner, and scheduled the gymnastics club’s notice to leave the premises on that basis.

“Whilst we are sorry that the sale has taken longer than anticipated, the club has known since December of last year that there was a pressing need to find an alternative building.

“We always made it very clear to the gymnastics club that the premises could not provide them with a base beyond the short term, but we did allow them to remain on site rent-free for as long as was reasonably possible.”

Mr Reddy said the gym club is still holding a strong line of communication open with Taylor Wimpey and has hopes that the developer can assist in its search for a short and long-term solution.

Such has been the gravity of the club’s undertaking, more than 300 members have been unable to train for the past two weeks because all the available space has been taken up.

Mr Reddy said: “It’s so disappointing that we have 350 members not training, as we have grown hugely in the recreational side of our club, through lots of hard work and effort.

“However, I am confident in the New Year, we will have a provision for all of our gymnasts.

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