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Someone will be hurt, says councillor in Bromley gym row

Bromley Valley Gym

Bromley Valley Gym

Archant

A councillor has spoken of the “intolerable” situation of housing delinquent youngsters above a children’s gymnastics club after fence posts were thrown from its roof.

Petts Wood Councillor Tony Owen claims somebody will be “seriously injured” if Bromley council continues to keep the youths in accommodation in Chipperfield Road, on top of the Bromley Valley Gym Club.

Youngsters facing exclusion are sent to its respite service for between six and 12 weeks for assessment before they are sent back to school or to the pupil referral unit. It also accommodates children in care who are temporarily without a school place.

Fence posts were thrown from the roof on May 16 and furniture was launched from the second-floor balcony on May 24.

Danger

Now gym director Peter Cunningham says the situation could put the business at risk when the new term starts in September.

He said: “If it were to remain unchecked there would be the danger of parents removing their children from the gym and those considering bringing their young children to us would be put off.

“We are not subsidised and we rely on the fees paid by gymnasts and if the membership is adversely affected the financial stability of the centre is threatened.”

The council claims having the respite centre at Chipperfield Road, for up to 30 children, is only an interim measure.

It says it is considering using an adapted youth centre, out-sourcing the service or stopping respite care altogether but has made no firm plans.

Cllr Owen said: “Somebody is going to be seriously injured at this place. It’s totally intolerable that this should continue.

“Is it sensible to locate children above the gym who have been excluded from school, have severe behavioural problems and are normally kept in a gated compound with high metal fencing such as the pupil referral unit?”

A council spokesperson said: “The present respite service at Chipperfield Road is an interim arrangement and we are currently looking at a long term alternative solution.

“The council was made aware of a small number of incidents and after meeting with the Bromley Valley Gym took immediate steps to rectify any problems.”


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