Dilapidated boxing and youth club to build new seven-storey site in Hoxton
Young boxers inspired by Team GB’s Olympic success are celebrating a victory of their own after their dilapidated youth club received planning permission to tear down the building and replace it with state-of-the-art facilities and flats.
The Lion Club, which was on the ropes after training boxers at the same site in Hoxton for more than 50 years, was granted Hackney Council approval to build a new seven-storey building in Pitfield Street.
More than 1,000 people – including Hollywood hard-man actor Ray Winstone - signed a petition in support of the planning application, that will now see the centre financed by renting out three storeys of residential properties above the four-floor youth club.
Chairman Alan Parry said: “I’m so pleased we’ve got planning permission – I was grinning like a Cheshire cat after the meeting! Eight of our kids actually came with us to the council to hear the result last Wednesday.
“The phone has been ringing non-stop with people congratulating us and saying it’s all down to me, but I feel quite humble. I’m looking forward to overseeing it.”
London 2012 saw boxers Luke Campbell and Anthony Joshua win gold in their categories, while flyweight Nicola Adams became the first woman to win an Olympic boxing gold medal.
And Alan thinks the medal haul will encourage more Hackney youngsters – and girls in particular – to take up the sport.
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“Two girls have already told us that now it’s their ambition to be professional boxers,” he said.
“We have 20 boys, aged between 11 and 25, doing boxing competitions with us at the moment, and we have 12 girls due to start with us from September.
“It will be wonderful to have proper training facilitates for them soon.”
The Lion Club’s building is so old it does not currently have disabled access, and there are no proper changing rooms for girls because the club, which provides a disco and homework centre alongside its sports facilities, was originally a boys-only organisation.
The building work is expected to begin in November.
For more information about the club, call 020 7739 5746.