A DERELICT gym could get a new lease of life as a community asset.

Samson’s Gym in Eastleigh closed its doors for good following a kidnapping scandal.

The boarded-up site in Chamberlayne Road which has stood empty since 2018 was set to be knocked down to make way for a new development.

However, efforts are now underway to get the iconic former dairy recognised as a listed building.

Eastleigh residents have banded together and are calling for it to be listed as a community asset.

The Gym Improvement Group (GIG), which was set up soon after the demolition plans were announced, stresses the historical significance of the venue.

The group argues that the old dairy could be used to house an “expanded Eastleigh Museum” or even community events.

A listing officer from Historic England is set to visit the site and make an assessment this week.

Spokesman Bob Everett said: “We believe the Old Coop Dairy could provide a larger space.

“Who knows, it could also mean that community groups like Eastleigh Boxing Club, which has been pressing to use the facility, might be able to use the space when the museum is closed.”

According to the community group, in its heyday, the dairy, which opened in 1930, produced 25,000 gallons of milk a week.

It supplied people in Romsey and Winchester as well as Eastleigh.

And was part of an Eastleigh Cooperative Society “empire” which at one stage had 13 shops, a bakery and a garage and generated sales worth more than £7 million a year.

However, the advent of giant supermarkets saw its demise in the 1970s.

GIG argues that, the Coop Dairy is one of the only tangible survivors of a now almost forgotten organisation which played a central part in the social development of Eastleigh as a town.

The application to demolish the building was submitted by Eastleigh Borough Council with a view to redeveloping the plot of land.

A council spokesperson previously said: “Historic England has informed us that they have received a request asking them to review the former Samson’s Gym building, we will of course assist them with any information they need.”