PLANS to turn an empty warehouse unit in Brierley Hill into a new martial arts academy have been given a kick-start.

Businessman Steve Cartwright’s application to turn unit 3 in Little Cottage Street into a new base for Stourbridge Martial Arts was given temporary planning permission for three years by councillors at Dudley’s development control committee last night (Monday February 2).

Brierley Hill councillor Margaret Wilson spoke out in favour of the plan, which had been recommended for refusal by council officers who were worried about extra traffic the new centre might create and whether there would be enough carparking spaces.

A big Jackie Chan fan, cllr Wilson told the meeting: “I can’t see why there’s any need for a refusal.

“The warehouse unit hasn’t been used for years - it would create so much pleasure. I watch the Jackie Chan films and martial arts is a disciplined sport and this would help a lot of young people.

“It would help to bring something back to Brierley Hill.”

Chairman - cllr Tim Wright - suggested approving permission for a temporary period of three years to give the council’s transport department chance to see if the facility impacts on traffic and parking in Brierley Hill.

He added: “Let’s not stifle entrepreneurs in this borough.”

The new centre, which looks set to attract around 200 students a week, will comprise a boxing ring, two training mats, a large punch and kick-bag room and a lounge area for parents to watch the progress of their children.

The majority of kung-fu classes will be held during the evenings, but yoga and stretching classes for the elderly may run during the daytime.