The future of a popular boxing gym in Preston has suffered a knockout blow after its plans to move to new facilities were gazumped.
JR Gym was hoping to move from its current base in Oyston Mill, in Strand Road, to the former Lostock Youth Centre, in Watkin Lane.
“Genuinely, if we could have preferred choice, we would be very happy for Mr Roye to have his boxing club in the building,”
Having had a bid of £85,000 accepted in principle, the gym’s owner and trainer Johnney Roye was looking forward to a bright future.
But with the process of sale under way, the vendor of the property – Preston Ribble Methodist Circuit – pulled the plug on the deal after receiving a higher offer, believed to be in the region of £95,000.
It has left former world kickboxing champion Roye with a bitter taste in the mouth.
“We have been looking for a new facility for about six months,” he said.
“I would not say we have been looking too hard because we have been limited to what we can afford.
“But this one came up. First it was up for auction for £150,000 and it did not sell.
“Then it was put up for sale for £125,000, it didn’t sell.
“We did not try to buy it because we could not afford the reserve price.
“It was only when it didn’t sell that I was asked by the selling agents if I was still interested.
“It was then we came to an agreement to purchase the property for £85,000 and I was just waiting for the contracts to be exchanged. We’ve been absolutely gazumped .
“I would expect that from a businessman, who has no loyalty and who is just looking for the highest price.
“I would not expect it from the church, with the service that they provide to the community. We are a non-profit-making organisation, which provides a service for the community.”
Preston Ribble’s Supt minister, Rev Mark Slaney sympathised with Roye’s plight, but admitted his hands were tied and the church was legally compelled to sell to the highest bidder.
“Genuinely, if we could have preferred choice, we would be very happy for Mr Roye to have his boxing club in the building,” said Rev Slaney, who met with Roye to explain the church’s decision .
“A building which was a youth centre – in terms of our community values – we would much rather that happen and I told Mr Roye that.
“All Methodist buildings are owned by the Methodist Church nationally but the local churches are managing trustees of those buildings.
“There is a process for us to follow when we sell buildings.
“As managing trustees, we accepted Mr Roye’s offer in principle but the sale has to go through a process.
“It goes to our quantity surveyor, who has to write a legal document called the best value certificate.
“In between us accepting Mr Roye’s offer in principle and asking our surveyor to prepare a best value certificate, another offer came in, which was substantially more than Mr Roye’s.
“Once our quantity surveyor became aware of this other offer, he could not write and will not write a best value certificate for Mr Roye’s offer.”
It is believed that the building will be used as storage space by potential new buyers AMS Cladding Ltd, who bought the previously disused Lostock Hall Methodist Church two years ago.