A PROMINENT town centre retail unit in Musselburgh could spring into action as a boxing, martial arts and fitness centre.

Also planned for the vacant building at 175-181 High Street (pictured below), formerly the Big Pick & Zero Waste shop, is a beautician’s and hairdressing area.

East Lothian Courier: The vacant building at 175-181 High Street in Musselburgh, formerly the Big Pick & Zero Waste shop, could be transformed into a boxing, martial arts and fitness centre, and beautician's. Google Maps

J&L Boxing Club, a community interest company, has applied to East Lothian Council for planning consent for the part change of use of the premises which it plans to lease.

In a supporting statement, head coach Jay Tuveri, on behalf of the business which he runs with fiancée Laura Casement (both pictured below), said that the club, which was formerly based in Prestonpans, aimed to help tackle vandalism, boredom and bullying in Musselburgh and the surrounding area.

East Lothian Courier: Jay Tuveri and Laura Casement

He said: “We will help tackle the problem by offering boxing classes and fitness classes to youngsters, giving them purpose, manners and self-reward.”

He said that anti-bullying classes, which were in “high demand” in the town, would help increase self-esteem, confidence and reduce bullying.

Mr Tuveri stressed that, having left its previous base in Prestonpans, there were no alternative, suitable premises available.

He said: “The position of this property makes it ideal for my business as it is in a central location and easily accessible for everyone.”

He told the Courier that the club would have a larger 4,000 sq ft, fully fitted gym on the ground floor, as well as a beauty therapy/hairdressing area with treatment room, sensory relaxation room and high-level aesthetics treatments.

The top floor, of 5,000 sq ft, would be dedicated to the martial arts and fitness classes, with a full mixed martial arts (MMA) cage, boxing ring and equipment.

East Lothian Courier: An artist's impression of the planned J&L Boxing Club

Mr Tuveri said that the club was Boxing Scotland affiliated at silver level and was now hoping to aim for gold level. Muay Thai MMA, Jiu-Jitsu, Wing Chun, Kung Fu and Taekwondo would also be on offer at the new facility, he added.

He said: “We opened the Prestonpans club with the aim to help kids against bullying, as there is a huge problem in East Lothian. We work closely with councils, schools and the local community, helping disadvantaged families and people.

“We also help those who are unemployed by hosting an employability company, Street League, in the club on a weekly basis. They provide training and guidance for youngsters and the unemployed, giving them the knowledge and tools to employment.”

He added that, in the past two years, the club had produced a Scottish champion and semi/quarter finalists at competition level prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, and they hoped to continue this success in the future.

In the supporting statement, Mr Tuveri said that, with the move, more children would be able to attend classes, which would keep them off the streets, TV and computers, allowing them to become more focused on martial arts.

He said: “I believe that, especially at this time, there is a desperate need for places like my club to offer a way to feel better about yourself and keep the mental and physical health of families, children and individuals.”

Mr Tuveri said: “We have provided a service for the community for more than three years. We are looking to place ourselves in a more accessible location with a bigger unit so we can help many more and provide the place to be.”

The club’s other premises, in Eyemouth, will reopen once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.