New Lancaster gymnastics hub gets thumbs up

Allan Blackburn and Marie Gardner at the building site for the new gymnastics studio at Lancaster Leisure Park.
Allan Blackburn and Marie Gardner at the building site for the new gymnastics studio at Lancaster Leisure Park.

The next Max Whitlock, Louis Smith, Beth Tweddle or Claudia Fragapane might be produced at Lancaster Leisure Park.

Owner Allan Blackburn plans to build a state of the art gymnastics studio at the park to help train youngsters in acrobatics, trampolining, tumbling, floor and vault.

Gymnastics is growing in popularity in the UK.

Gymnastics is growing in popularity in the UK.

Talks are under way for the City of Lancaster Gymnastics Club to move in after the 4,250 sq ft studio was given planning permission by Lancaster City Council.

The club is currently based at the University of Cumbria’s Sports Centre on Bowerham Road.

The new venue, which is currently being built at the park on Wyresdale Road, is bigger and will enable the club them to offer more classes and an environment which mirrors competition conditions.

Marie Gardner, club chairman, said: “We’ve been looking for another venue for a while now, as we wanted to keep it close to the existing facilities at the university. Lots of parents bring their children to us after school and at weekends, so we wanted somewhere that’s easy to get to, with good parking. The Leisure Park gives us that.”

Mr Blackburn said: “The plans that the City of Lancaster Gymnastics Club have for the building fit in nicely with the other attractions on the park.”

Gymnastics is enjoying a boom period in Britain right now after the Rio Olympics when Team GB won seven medals – their highest ever haul – including two golds for Whitlock.

UK gymnasts have also become TV celebrities thanks to Olympic bronze medallist Tweddle’s success on Dancing On Ice, and Smith and Fragapane appearing on Strictly Come Dancing.