Fire-wrecked gym boss ordered to take down signs

Lee Hill outside his gym in School Street, Westhoughton, which was hit by the blaze

Lee Hill outside his gym in School Street, Westhoughton, which was hit by the blaze

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

A FORMER soldier whose gym had to shut after a fire has been told the signs on his business will have to come down — because the gym is in a conservation area.

Lee Hill says his “dream has come crashing down” after his gym BodyTorq was forced to leave its premises in School Street after a fire ripped through the roof of the row of businesses on June 1.

BodyTorq was launched in February by fitness instructor Mr Hill, who has been on four tours to Afghanistan, returning most recently last year.

Just prior to the blaze, he was told by Bolton Council that BodyTorq’s eye-catching signage would have to come down.

The perspex signs, worth more than £2,000, were responsible for attracting more than a quarter of BodyTorq’s members, according to Mr Hill.

But he was told in a letter from the council that they would have to be boarded over and painted black as the gym was in a conservation area. The council defended the order, but said, in light of the fire, it would agree an appropriate timescale with BodyTorq for the sign to be removed.

Mr Hill said: “So many people have said to us how much better it looks now with our sign.

“It is quite disappointing really. All we were told is that it is in a conservation area.

“We were just starting to look into sorting it all out when the fire happened.

He added: “It does not even protude into the street as it sits in the frame.

“Being told to paint it black by the council has confused me. I don’t understand how that would make the area look any better.”

BodyTorq is now operating in Westhoughton Community Leisure Centre, but has started to lose members after they initially supported Mr Hill following the fire.

He said: “Some people are starting to cancel memberships. Initially everyone was very loyal but they’re starting to slip away.

“I saved up the money myself and it is devastating to be in this situation after all that work.

“Doing this was a dream but it has come crashing down. If the building does end up being knocked down we will have to find somewhere new.”

A council spokesman said: “We had received a complaint, prior to the fire, about the signage. We went down and explained to the gym owners that the signage needed to be removed as the building is within a conservation area and because of its size and location, the sign requires advertisement consent.

“They agreed to do this. However, we understand that due to the fire, the matter is unresolved, and we are happy to speak to the owner to agree an appropriate and reasonable timeframe.”

Comments (25)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:32am Sun 13 Jul 14

Leealanthomas says...

How are the signs a problem?! I have to drive past them everyday and they look good, certainly not any kind of eyesore. Other businesses advertise on school street, including a pole dancing place above bodytorque.

Probably just another way for the council to flummox a new, growing business with red tape and get more money out of them.
How are the signs a problem?! I have to drive past them everyday and they look good, certainly not any kind of eyesore. Other businesses advertise on school street, including a pole dancing place above bodytorque. Probably just another way for the council to flummox a new, growing business with red tape and get more money out of them. Leealanthomas
  • Score: 46

9:57am Sun 13 Jul 14

marco999 says...

How is that a 'conservation area? What places of special architectural or historical interest are there in School St?
How is that a 'conservation area? What places of special architectural or historical interest are there in School St? marco999
  • Score: 31

10:01am Sun 13 Jul 14

kyeadfromkef says...

Conservation area my ar5e. The building looks a darn site better than when it was blockbusters . Bolton Council are a set of K..bs. Glad I'm out of it now!
Conservation area my ar5e. The building looks a darn site better than when it was blockbusters . Bolton Council are a set of K..bs. Glad I'm out of it now! kyeadfromkef
  • Score: 32

11:07am Sun 13 Jul 14

Chrome1 says...

A former soldier who's done a tour of Afghanistan. Nothing like a bit of blind patriotism to stir the emotions in the public and put a spin on the story. What if say he was an ex-bricky; would he be less deserving of sympathy?
A former soldier who's done a tour of Afghanistan. Nothing like a bit of blind patriotism to stir the emotions in the public and put a spin on the story. What if say he was an ex-bricky; would he be less deserving of sympathy? Chrome1
  • Score: -21

11:11am Sun 13 Jul 14

Chrome1 says...

And he's starting to lose members. I think he should see it as an omen. Close up and go back to wearing fatigues and fighting in illegal wars.
And he's starting to lose members. I think he should see it as an omen. Close up and go back to wearing fatigues and fighting in illegal wars. Chrome1
  • Score: -65

11:47am Sun 13 Jul 14

Changing times says...

Yet again the Councils planning dept causing misery for the hard working individual, yet couldn't careless about other eyesores in the town. Planning are an absolute disgrace and whoever is in charge should step down in shame.
Yet again the Councils planning dept causing misery for the hard working individual, yet couldn't careless about other eyesores in the town. Planning are an absolute disgrace and whoever is in charge should step down in shame. Changing times
  • Score: 38

12:06pm Sun 13 Jul 14

Chrome1 says...

Changing times wrote:
Yet again the Councils planning dept causing misery for the hard working individual, yet couldn't careless about other eyesores in the town. Planning are an absolute disgrace and whoever is in charge should step down in shame.
Say something original for a change. Honestly Bolton is hopeless when it comes to genuine wit. What's hard working got to do with anything? I want to breeze through life doing as little as possible and earning vast amounts of money. Hard work. .. It's overrated.
[quote][p][bold]Changing times[/bold] wrote: Yet again the Councils planning dept causing misery for the hard working individual, yet couldn't careless about other eyesores in the town. Planning are an absolute disgrace and whoever is in charge should step down in shame.[/p][/quote]Say something original for a change. Honestly Bolton is hopeless when it comes to genuine wit. What's hard working got to do with anything? I want to breeze through life doing as little as possible and earning vast amounts of money. Hard work. .. It's overrated. Chrome1
  • Score: -37

12:11pm Sun 13 Jul 14

Changing times says...

Chrome1 wrote:
Changing times wrote:
Yet again the Councils planning dept causing misery for the hard working individual, yet couldn't careless about other eyesores in the town. Planning are an absolute disgrace and whoever is in charge should step down in shame.
Say something original for a change. Honestly Bolton is hopeless when it comes to genuine wit. What's hard working got to do with anything? I want to breeze through life doing as little as possible and earning vast amounts of money. Hard work. .. It's overrated.
Muppet !
[quote][p][bold]Chrome1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Changing times[/bold] wrote: Yet again the Councils planning dept causing misery for the hard working individual, yet couldn't careless about other eyesores in the town. Planning are an absolute disgrace and whoever is in charge should step down in shame.[/p][/quote]Say something original for a change. Honestly Bolton is hopeless when it comes to genuine wit. What's hard working got to do with anything? I want to breeze through life doing as little as possible and earning vast amounts of money. Hard work. .. It's overrated.[/p][/quote]Muppet ! Changing times
  • Score: 38

12:15pm Sun 13 Jul 14

Replytohatersandscum says...

insurance job !!!!!!!
insurance job !!!!!!! Replytohatersandscum
  • Score: -29

12:17pm Sun 13 Jul 14

SleepingThunder says...

Double standards again how come some shops can take up half the pavement but when one wishes to advertise in professional way they get penalised? Conservation area for what pigeons ?

Chrome1 get a grip he served his country as a soldier not a politician.
Double standards again how come some shops can take up half the pavement but when one wishes to advertise in professional way they get penalised? Conservation area for what pigeons ? Chrome1 get a grip he served his country as a soldier not a politician. SleepingThunder
  • Score: 43

12:26pm Sun 13 Jul 14

exboard says...

As I have quoted elsewhere.
This council does not like small businesses.
As I have quoted elsewhere. This council does not like small businesses. exboard
  • Score: 21

12:43pm Sun 13 Jul 14

Chrome1 says...

SleepingThunder wrote:
Double standards again how come some shops can take up half the pavement but when one wishes to advertise in professional way they get penalised? Conservation area for what pigeons ?

Chrome1 get a grip he served his country as a soldier not a politician.
Yada yada yada. A trader can legally extend their shop onto the pavement. It's classed as an extension of your stall. On the point of illegal wars; when non white countries engage in something similar it's classed as brutal oppression and terrorism. When the people of Gaza point their blooded finger of blame towards the israeli terrorists do you think they only hold the politicians responsible, or are the whole nation of Israel soaked in the blood of civilians massacred so Israel can continue its campaign of Western backed oppression? Go back to your stella and don't engage in debates beyond your intellect.
[quote][p][bold]SleepingThunder[/bold] wrote: Double standards again how come some shops can take up half the pavement but when one wishes to advertise in professional way they get penalised? Conservation area for what pigeons ? Chrome1 get a grip he served his country as a soldier not a politician.[/p][/quote]Yada yada yada. A trader can legally extend their shop onto the pavement. It's classed as an extension of your stall. On the point of illegal wars; when non white countries engage in something similar it's classed as brutal oppression and terrorism. When the people of Gaza point their blooded finger of blame towards the israeli terrorists do you think they only hold the politicians responsible, or are the whole nation of Israel soaked in the blood of civilians massacred so Israel can continue its campaign of Western backed oppression? Go back to your stella and don't engage in debates beyond your intellect. Chrome1
  • Score: -40

1:43pm Sun 13 Jul 14

Beyond News Forum says...

Chrome1 wrote:
SleepingThunder wrote:
Double standards again how come some shops can take up half the pavement but when one wishes to advertise in professional way they get penalised? Conservation area for what pigeons ?

Chrome1 get a grip he served his country as a soldier not a politician.
Yada yada yada. A trader can legally extend their shop onto the pavement. It's classed as an extension of your stall. On the point of illegal wars; when non white countries engage in something similar it's classed as brutal oppression and terrorism. When the people of Gaza point their blooded finger of blame towards the israeli terrorists do you think they only hold the politicians responsible, or are the whole nation of Israel soaked in the blood of civilians massacred so Israel can continue its campaign of Western backed oppression? Go back to your stella and don't engage in debates beyond your intellect.
Oh you so need to join the above named forum... I applaud you... my last 3 = 686

Every word I agree with.
[quote][p][bold]Chrome1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]SleepingThunder[/bold] wrote: Double standards again how come some shops can take up half the pavement but when one wishes to advertise in professional way they get penalised? Conservation area for what pigeons ? Chrome1 get a grip he served his country as a soldier not a politician.[/p][/quote]Yada yada yada. A trader can legally extend their shop onto the pavement. It's classed as an extension of your stall. On the point of illegal wars; when non white countries engage in something similar it's classed as brutal oppression and terrorism. When the people of Gaza point their blooded finger of blame towards the israeli terrorists do you think they only hold the politicians responsible, or are the whole nation of Israel soaked in the blood of civilians massacred so Israel can continue its campaign of Western backed oppression? Go back to your stella and don't engage in debates beyond your intellect.[/p][/quote]Oh you so need to join the above named forum... I applaud you... my last 3 = 686 Every word I agree with. Beyond News Forum
  • Score: -8

1:45pm Sun 13 Jul 14

Beyond News Forum says...

On topic - The hypocrisy of our council is formidable. Signs in a conservation area? What about the useless information signage in conservation areas?

I'm just pointing out people before the thumbs start going down.
On topic - The hypocrisy of our council is formidable. Signs in a conservation area? What about the useless information signage in conservation areas? I'm just pointing out people before the thumbs start going down. Beyond News Forum
  • Score: 1

2:16pm Sun 13 Jul 14

wsw69 says...

This chap has left the forces and taken a brave step to set-up his own business. Not an easy decision to take and certainly not easy to implement and operate. As if the fire wasn't bad enough to all concerned, you then end up with the f**king local jobs worth's p1551ng up his back!

If i were him, I'd look at other towns to run a business, irrespective of business size. Good luck for the future, here's hoping you run a successful gym.

Yet again, Bolton 'run by complete jobs worth's and first grade Kn0b5' Council, prove beyond 100% that they can destroy anyone, any business for any slight reason or regulation, just to be able to justify their position and exercise their 'p155ed with power' attitude.

No way would I run my business based in Bolton.

Would they be telling the gymnasium proprietor the same if he were to be other than white British born and bred? I bet a billion tonnes of gold on it they wouldn't!!

They can't even enforce their own planning regulations where ethnicity, other than being pure born and bred white English, is involved. They KNOW IT, the born and bred people of this country know it.

Laws, regulations and rules are not applied fairly in this country. If they were no one would have issue or cause for issues. But the hapless cowards in charge hide behind stock excuses like 'Every case is dealt with on it's own merits and individual basis'. 80LL0X utter and complete 80LL0X and they know it.

People are treated like idiots and the 'powers that be' think no one are bright enough to notice.
This chap has left the forces and taken a brave step to set-up his own business. Not an easy decision to take and certainly not easy to implement and operate. As if the fire wasn't bad enough to all concerned, you then end up with the f**king local jobs worth's p1551ng up his back! If i were him, I'd look at other towns to run a business, irrespective of business size. Good luck for the future, here's hoping you run a successful gym. Yet again, Bolton 'run by complete jobs worth's and first grade Kn0b5' Council, prove beyond 100% that they can destroy anyone, any business for any slight reason or regulation, just to be able to justify their position and exercise their 'p155ed with power' attitude. No way would I run my business based in Bolton. Would they be telling the gymnasium proprietor the same if he were to be other than white British born and bred? I bet a billion tonnes of gold on it they wouldn't!! They can't even enforce their own planning regulations where ethnicity, other than being pure born and bred white English, is involved. They KNOW IT, the born and bred people of this country know it. Laws, regulations and rules are not applied fairly in this country. If they were no one would have issue or cause for issues. But the hapless cowards in charge hide behind stock excuses like 'Every case is dealt with on it's own merits and individual basis'. 80LL0X utter and complete 80LL0X and they know it. People are treated like idiots and the 'powers that be' think no one are bright enough to notice. wsw69
  • Score: 39

2:22pm Sun 13 Jul 14

oftbewildered2 says...

I think the signs look smart - and they are not permanent fixtures. He has not altered the structure of the building. One complaint - wonder who has such power over the Council; plain black painted windows would look horrendous
I think the signs look smart - and they are not permanent fixtures. He has not altered the structure of the building. One complaint - wonder who has such power over the Council; plain black painted windows would look horrendous oftbewildered2
  • Score: 25

2:32pm Sun 13 Jul 14

wsw69 says...

oftbewildered2 wrote:
I think the signs look smart - and they are not permanent fixtures. He has not altered the structure of the building. One complaint - wonder who has such power over the Council; plain black painted windows would look horrendous
Spot-on

The council are idiots, clueless ones at that.
[quote][p][bold]oftbewildered2[/bold] wrote: I think the signs look smart - and they are not permanent fixtures. He has not altered the structure of the building. One complaint - wonder who has such power over the Council; plain black painted windows would look horrendous[/p][/quote]Spot-on The council are idiots, clueless ones at that. wsw69
  • Score: 24

3:06pm Sun 13 Jul 14

Kewyed says...

Conservation area ha! So how come the council have allowed Hearle homes to a) build an eye sore of a nursing home within the conservation area, specifically where the council wanted to encourage open areas to enhance the town b) allow hearle homes to demolish the 300+ year old barn next to the red lion public house??? I'd say a few back handers would be involved. Bolton council are a joke.
Conservation area ha! So how come the council have allowed Hearle homes to a) build an eye sore of a nursing home within the conservation area, specifically where the council wanted to encourage open areas to enhance the town b) allow hearle homes to demolish the 300+ year old barn next to the red lion public house??? I'd say a few back handers would be involved. Bolton council are a joke. Kewyed
  • Score: 29

5:57pm Sun 13 Jul 14

Cakey1 says...

The signs looked a lot better than the garish blockbuster signs that were there previously. Why did they not tell them to take their signs down? They were there for years?.........yet another dig by Bolton council....".caring for the Bolton family" I don't think so.
The signs looked a lot better than the garish blockbuster signs that were there previously. Why did they not tell them to take their signs down? They were there for years?.........yet another dig by Bolton council....".caring for the Bolton family" I don't think so. Cakey1
  • Score: 21

7:08pm Sun 13 Jul 14

bandit14 says...

What about all those foreign owned takeaways in westhoughton with their big bold signs, nothing said about them, council are scared to refuse the foreigners because of the old racial upset it may cause
What about all those foreign owned takeaways in westhoughton with their big bold signs, nothing said about them, council are scared to refuse the foreigners because of the old racial upset it may cause bandit14
  • Score: 14

8:57am Mon 14 Jul 14

atlas123 says...

What about the laods of flyposted signs that Total Fitness have up and down Blackburn Road?
What about the laods of flyposted signs that Total Fitness have up and down Blackburn Road? atlas123
  • Score: 8

11:50am Mon 14 Jul 14

catsden says...

How PATHETIC , NOTHING WRONG WITH THE SIGNS, AN HONEST MAN TRYING TO RUN A BUSINESS,GET A GRIP BOLTON COUNCIL.
How PATHETIC , NOTHING WRONG WITH THE SIGNS, AN HONEST MAN TRYING TO RUN A BUSINESS,GET A GRIP BOLTON COUNCIL. catsden
  • Score: 5

1:16pm Mon 14 Jul 14

cliff4treasurer says...

Well done Cliff another small business feels the helping hand of your bunch of idiot jobs worth overpaid idiots.
Is it really any wonder you are the most loathed toady politician in this town.
Well done Cliff another small business feels the helping hand of your bunch of idiot jobs worth overpaid idiots. Is it really any wonder you are the most loathed toady politician in this town. cliff4treasurer
  • Score: 4

8:18pm Mon 14 Jul 14

the need for austerity is a myth says...

Chrome1 wrote:
A former soldier who's done a tour of Afghanistan. Nothing like a bit of blind patriotism to stir the emotions in the public and put a spin on the story. What if say he was an ex-bricky; would he be less deserving of sympathy?
Not to mention the fact he should have done a full recce before embarking on operations.
[quote][p][bold]Chrome1[/bold] wrote: A former soldier who's done a tour of Afghanistan. Nothing like a bit of blind patriotism to stir the emotions in the public and put a spin on the story. What if say he was an ex-bricky; would he be less deserving of sympathy?[/p][/quote]Not to mention the fact he should have done a full recce before embarking on operations. the need for austerity is a myth
  • Score: -1

8:31pm Mon 14 Jul 14

the need for austerity is a myth says...

oftbewildered2 wrote:
I think the signs look smart - and they are not permanent fixtures. He has not altered the structure of the building. One complaint - wonder who has such power over the Council; plain black painted windows would look horrendous
Try reading the article. It's the law wielding this power, not an individual complainant, not the Council, and certainly not any Council employee (jobsworth or otherwise). Nobody has said he can't have the signage, but the law says he must apply for permission before he can have it. You truly are bewildered, aren't you.
[quote][p][bold]oftbewildered2[/bold] wrote: I think the signs look smart - and they are not permanent fixtures. He has not altered the structure of the building. One complaint - wonder who has such power over the Council; plain black painted windows would look horrendous[/p][/quote]Try reading the article. It's the law wielding this power, not an individual complainant, not the Council, and certainly not any Council employee (jobsworth or otherwise). Nobody has said he can't have the signage, but the law says he must apply for permission before he can have it. You truly are bewildered, aren't you. the need for austerity is a myth
  • Score: -2

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree