By Tristan Harris Wednesday 11 September 2013 Updated: 11/09 11:28
A PETITION containing almost 550 names will be submitted to Bromsgrove District Council in a bid to save a popular martial arts club which is facing closure because of a planning wrangle.
The Standard reported last month how the sessions run by Verve Martial Arts, used by 220 people aged between four and 65, were under threat.
Owner John Swift uses the unit he has in Sherwood Road, on the Aston Fields Industrial Estate, as a warehouse for his martial arts equipment business during the day and as a hall for the classes in the evening.
But the district council told Mr Swift, in order to continue, he would have to get planning permission to change the use of the unit.
That was in December, around the same time as Verve was shortlisted by Bromsgrove District Council for the authority's '2012 Club of the Year' accolade in the authority's annual sports awards.
Mr Swift got together with an architect and put together a planning application, but that was refused and he was threatened with enforcement action.
He has now put forward another last-ditch planning application in a bid to save the club.
Since appearing on our front page on August 2, he has received copious messages of support from people and had visits from councillors and the officers.
Mr Swift said: "A lot of people, especially the parents, could not believe it when they found out about the planning issues we were facing.
"We are all hopeful that the planning result will go the right way," he added.
If planning permission is not granted and the enforcement action goes ahead, Mr Swift will be forced to shut up shop and take his business back to Kidderninster.
A Bromsgrove District Council spokesperson said the application would go before the planning committee at a forthcoming district council planning committee meeting.
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