Iceland supermarket rules out redevelopment plans at popular Sheffield boxing gym

Members of the De Hood Boxing Centre.
Members of the De Hood Boxing Centre.

A supermarket chain has denied having plans to build a store on the site of a popular community boxing club - which members fear could be demolished to make way for redevelopment.

The De Hood Boxing Centre has given hundreds of youngsters a fighting chance of a better future since opening its doors in the troubled area of Manor Top six years ago.

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But there is concern for the future of the venue as it is claimed the council is considering earmarking the site for potential redevelopment with a number of retailers keen on submitting plans.

The Iceland frozen foods supermarket chain was initially thought to have expressed interest but a spokesperson today ruled this out.

He said: "Iceland Foods has not expressed any interest whatsoever in opening a store at Manor Top."

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Gym members claim Costa Coffee is also interested but the company has not yet commented publicly on the issue.

The gym is based within the former Prince Edward School in Prince of Wales Road.

The council owns the building and with retailers said to be interested in the site there is concern the council could sell it off - which would pave the way for it to be demolished and redeveloped.

More than 3000 people have now backed an online petition calling for the gym's future to be secured.

They have used the building rent free for the last three years as they act as caretakers for the site.

But gym members now want the council to give them a long term lease of at least 10 years.

They also want the authority to designate the building as an 'Asset of Community Value' - which would afford it additional protection by law from redevelopment.

Reagan Denton, who launched the centre after turning his own life around after a stint in prison, said yesterday: "This was built in The Manor, by The Manor and for The Manor and it has got to stay.

"We want to work with the council to find a solution and we want to secure our future here."

Reagan plans to speak at the full council meeting on March 28 to put his case forward.

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The facility - which has 1500 members aged six to 84 - has won praise from police for reducing crime by giving youngsters discipline and focus.

A spokesperson for Sheffield Council said no formal planning application has been submitted yet but added he could not comment further at this stage.