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Charmouth: Planners approve application for new firing range
A Charmouth shooting range, which three years ago was a disused tunnel, is now a world-class facility and is providing a major boost for local businesses in the run-up to the Olympics.
The Target Sports Centre at The Tunnel is the only UK training centre for the British Olympic Pistol squad, which previously had to go abroad to train.
As soon as it opened in 2010, the centre became a National Rifle Association Centre of Excellence.
Now the centre provides world-class training and has received the UK’s first Home Office approval for pistol shooting since 1997.
West Dorset planners have approved an application for a new firing range, and owner Richard Clist believes the centre will be unbeatable.
The new range will provide additional training and competition facilities for the Olympics and Commonwealth Games and enable firearms training as part of anti-piracy measures.
“Just from having the Olympic squad training here has, we believe, meant some 300 guests for local bed and breakfasts and hotels in the past two or three months,” said Mr Clist.
West Dorset District Council’s development control committee last week approved the creation of the 100m range to the south-east of the grade two listed tunnel.
Planning permission was given in 2009 for the tunnel, north of the A35 trunk road, to become a rifle range, which opened the following year.
The large numbers of people requiring firearms training to meet requirements that personnel on board a ship must be competent with the arms they are issued is now boosting the centre too.
“This industry is growing at a rapid rate of knots and we anticipate over 4,000 delegates over the next twelve months,” added Mr Clist.
“Although we are able to provide the training rooms and small bore training we are currently unable to fulfil the requirements of full bore training. The existing range is not suitable for the calibre of firearms needed to train with.
“However, the existing facility does provide the necessary security requirements to fulfil the Home Office requirements for prohibited weapons.”
“We currently provide the facilities, storage, arms and accreditation for Shooting Training Solutions which has just taken the training contracts for nine companies providing maritime security as well as providing testing facilities for the UKs largest arms supplier.”
The new range will be constructed on what is currently a derelict section of the old Axminster road. The proposed structure will also include an armoury, storage area, disabled WC facilities, and a function room for use by the club.
The centre has also recently bought an additional 15 acres of land adjoining the current site.
Conditions attached to the planning persmission include a three-year implementation period, restrictions on use of the southern entrance by vehicles, restricted hours of use, and the development being carried out in accordance with an environmental noise assessment report.