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Cwmbran boxing club’s dream to move to new gym under The Tower is over

The Tower in Cwmbran
A boxing club was due to open in the basement of The Tower in Cwmbran (Photo: Cwmbran Life)

Members of a boxing club in Cwmbran have been told they can’t move to a new gym under the Tower.

Bron Afon Community Housing owns the block of flats and in 2021 was given planning permission to change the basement into a boxing gym. Torfaen Warriors Amateur Boxing Club and Bron Afon held a consultation with local residents in January 2020.

But now the club has been told they can’t have the 184 square metre basement as Bron Afon has stopped all new commercial lettings to carry out a review.

Simon Weaver, head coach at Torfaen Warriors ABC, outside his gym
Simon Weaver, head coach at Torfaen Warriors ABC, outside his gym on Grange Industrial Estate (Photo: Cwmbran Life)

Simon Weaver, head coach at Torfaen Warriors Amateur Boxing Club, said: “We can’t believe it. They’ve changed their mind and don’t want to rent it to us now. We’ve met there no end of times to go through things and whatever. The basement has been empty for roughly 15 years so why all of a sudden do they not want us to use it?

“Why let us go through all the planning and then offer us a 15-year lease? We’ve done an open day with those who live around there and got the people in The Tower on board.”

Simon started his boxing club in 1993 but has struggled to get a long-term permanent home. Currently, his boxers train above a business on Grange Industrial Estate, off Llanfrechfa Way.

He said he’s trying to be positive and hopes another venue can be found: “Things are done for reasons so perhaps there is something better out there than they are offering us. We have a waiting list as our gym is small. We’ve moved around so much it would be nice to have our own place.

“Over the last 30 years, we’ve proved ourselves by all the champions we’ve had. But it’s more than a club, there is a family atmosphere.

“We hope someone comes forward to help us.”

Simon said that they would’ve worked with local police at the new gym to reduce anti-social behaviour in the town centre by encouraging more young people to join.

During the 2020 consultation, 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.

Mark Doubler, head of property at Bron Afon, said: “We are currently reviewing all of our commercial premises, so we can better understand how to make the best use of our buildings for the benefit of our wider communities. This means we have put a suspension on all new lettings while we carry out this review.

“We appreciate this will be disappointing for Torfaen Warriors Amateur Boxing Club, and we wish them every success in finding suitable alternative premises.”

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Cwmbran boxing club’s dream to move to new gym under The Tower is over