A JUDO club is leaving the building it has called home for 20 years after the council announced plans to increase its rent.

Brighton Judo Club said it felt it has been forced out by Brighton and Hove City Council after being told the rent on its ten year lease would go up to £10,750 – an increase of £250 per year.

The club said it could no longer sustain the “high” rent and last night held its last training session in the building.

Brighton Judo Club officer Laurence Buckingham said: “We’re now having to hire a scout hut.

“It’s a big shame because we’ve been there for 20 years and it was the first time the club had its own building.

“It’s quite sad really – the rent is so high. We we’re struggling to make ends meet with the rent.

“We are a non-profit-making organisation and all the coaches volunteer.

“Here we are trying to promote sport to kids and adults – what the council wants to be seen doing – but it is not helping us at all.”

The group is now moving out of the city centre to a cheaper venue which it will have to share with a scout group in Whitehawk.

Brighton Judo Club formed in the early 1970s.

It was based in a number of buildings before settling in a hall off St James’s Street in 1996.

The club runs a number of classes for children and adults as well as training sessions for competitive judokas.

Paralympic bronze medallist Ben Quilter, who trained at the club when he was growing up, said he was saddened the club had to move.

He said: “I’ve been heavily involved in the club for a number of years.

“It has played a massive part in my whole life and sporting career.

“So it is a sad day for it to have to move.”

“It’s always had a fantastic set up and a really strong and enthusiastic coaches and the standard of the club has always been one of the highest in Sussex.”

Brighton and Hove City Council said it had offered the club a cheaper rate for a five-year lease, but Brighton Judo rejected it. 

A spokesman said: “We offered a reduced rent rather than increasing it - from £10,500 a year to £9000. The club rejected it. This is roughly half its market value – we’re currently talking to prospective tenants willing to pay over twice as much. 

"But it could be the club were looking to reduce their costs further.  The council is facing its biggest-ever funding cuts and there is a limit to how much it can subsidise clubs.

"We understood the club had an option for alternative premises."