Relief for homeless Honiton gym club as it moves into former Carpetright store following shock eviction last year

PUBLISHED: 15:48 09 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:13 13 May 2019

Honiton Gymnastics Club. Picture: Paul Collins Photography.

Honiton Gymnastics Club. Picture: Paul Collins Photography.

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Honiton's long established gymnastics club - which is currently without a permanent home - is now on a firmer footing after it successfully applied for a temporary lease to operate in a former shop.

The club revealed it has secured a two-year lease to operate from the former Carpetright store, on Heath Retail Park in Honiton.

The move will let it, in time, bring back all of its previous competition and recreational classes, which had to be indefinitely cancelled following its shock eviction at the end of last year.

A spokesman for the club's board said: "We have had a number of people asking, since before Christmas, if Honiton Gymnastics Club will move into the former Carpetright store.

"This has always been our preferred short-term option."

Despite the positivity surrounding the move - there is a catch.

The owners of the site, Aviva Investors, only permitted the contract if it contained a one-month 'get-out' clause, meaning the move carries the risk of a short-term eviction.

However, board members at the club say they are prepared to take the risk so gymnastics can train while they continue to work on a long-term solution.

The news will come as a relief to users and supports of the gymnastics club, which was thrown into turmoil when it was evicted from its training centre, in Ottery Moor Lane, last year.

Since then, the club's members have been forced to train at six venues, including Honiton Community College and the town's Community Use Building, in School Lane.

It also stored dozens of heavy gymnastics mats in a classroom at the college, which had to be lugged to these different venues.

The club currently serves hundreds of youngsters from Honiton and surrounding parishes - and has a waiting list of more than 400 people.

James Reddy, one of the club coaches, said: "We are very relieved! We know this is not going to be our permanent home but it's an excellent temporary home. It means we can move all of our equipment out again, and we have three floors and a bit to train on. Of the next couple of months, we hope to re-introduce our recreational classes.

"We are still forging ahead to find a long-term solution for this club."

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