Blackpool's First Dojo Martial Arts and Fitness Academy fights for survival

Students of First Dojo Martial Arts and Fitness Academy
Students of First Dojo Martial Arts and Fitness Academy

The operators of a Blackpool martial arts studio hit by a ‘devastating’ flood are now asking town hall planners for permission to keep their facility going.

First Dojo Martial Arts and Fitness Academy was forced to move to new premises in 2016 after a flood caused thousands of pounds worth of damage at its headquarters on the Sycamore Trading Estate on Squires Gate Lane.

It was relocated into another unit on the same estate with students giving up time during their Christmas holidays to redecorate the new studio.

Now the academy has applied to the council for retrospective planning permission to formally change the use of the new unit to a martial arts studio.

A design statement accompanying the application says the original unit was “devastated by a major flood” in August 2016.

It adds: “It ruined £5,000 worth of matting which was rendered unusable and had to be replaced, along with pads, gloves and crash mats.”

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First Dojo had been operating from its base since 2010 on temporary planning permission which had been extended by Blackpool Council.

Following the flood, site owner Evans Easyspace relocated the academy to another unit on the Sycamore Trading Estate which was empty.

The statement says: “The emotional stress arising from the flood and subsequent relocation was vast, as the owners of First Dojo had to move everything that could be salvaged from unit 2D to (unit) 7 over the course of two days.”

It adds that temporary permission for the new unit would be acceptable, and says “First Dojo has been successfully operated within Sycamore Trading Estate for seven years and as such is very well established in this location.”

The application will now be considered by planners at a future date.