A GYMNASTICS club which has more than 420 members on its books, is struggling to find a permanent base in Skipton and is appealing for local help to find somewhere suitable.

A recent planning application for the change of use of the Barrett Building, on the Airedale Business Centre, in Skipton, was refused in early January.

The reasons given were that the proposal did not meet the Local Plan requirements for employment use.

Georgina Mitchell, one of the directors of Ambitions Gymnastics, said she helped set up the club in June 2018 after returning to the area after 17 years from Australia.

But for the time being, the club operates from out of a van, visiting venues around the district.

“In 18 months, the club has grown from nothing to having over 420 members who participate in gymnastics programmes each week. About a third of our members are pre school age and the other two thirds, aged between four and 14 years,” said Ms Mitchell.

“We are a mobile entity, moving our equipment around from location to location in the back of a large van, which is more like a Tardis with the amount we fit in. We pack and unpack 16 times a week to deliver programmes. We currently run programmes out of Skipton Girls’ High School, Gargrave Village Hall and Carleton Village Hall. We have also taught gymnastics in schools locally too.

“Although we started out as a mobile entity, we always planned on finding a permanent venue from which to run programmes. We have hopes of creating of ‘Centre of Excellence’ for gymnastics in Skipton and North Yorkshire, which delivers the full spectrum of gymnastics disciplines and caters for children as young as six months old right through to older adults. We have been on the hunt for a venue for over 12 months now with very little luck.

“We need a large amount of space (5000-7000m2), high ceilings, toilets and plenty of parking. Recent changes in Council Policy means that now, no industrial type buildings within Craven District area, with a B1 zoning for industrial use, will be considered for a change of use, (including D2 recreational, which is what we require).

“We are hopeful that someone may have a venue which we could use, on a permanent basis long term which already has the zoning we need or doesn’t require Council approval for use. “

Anyone who can offer space can email: georgina@ambitionsgymnastics.com