Monday, 21 August 2017

Businessman revises gym plans after complaints about noise

A BUSINESSMAN has revised his plans for a new gym in Henley following objections by town councillors and neighbours.

A BUSINESSMAN has revised his plans for a new gym in Henley following objections by town councillors and neighbours.

Malcolm Jiggens applied for planning permission for a health and fitness centre at two vacant commercial units he owns in Station Road following the closure of the LA Fitness gym in Newtown Road in August.

Members of the town council’s planning committee urged South Oxfordshire District Council to reject the application, saying the steel buildings would generate noise and disturb neighbours.

Councillor Jane Smewing said: “It’s going to be horrendously noisy.”

Councillor David Nimmo Smith said: “Neighbours believe it is going to be a major disturbance. It is a corrugated building and you can only put in so much insulation.”



The committee also said the application did not say how much gym equipment would be installed and only explained how one unit would be used. Now Mr Jiggens, from Binfield Heath, says he only wants permission to convert a single unit and will let the other to a new tenant.

He said the gym was never intended to occupy both but he originally wanted the freedom to use either.

The facility would have 26 items of cardiovascular equipment such as treadmills, exercise bikes and rowing machines.

There would be 15 stations for weight training plus 11 miscellaneous items like mats and exercise balls. These would be spread over two storeys with a total floor space of 3,750 square feet.

Although the gym would only have five parking bays, Mr Jiggens claimed congestion wouldn’t be a problem as it would be most heavily used outside working hours, when there would be plenty of free space at the station car park. He said most members would listen to music through their headphones so background music would be played quietly.

He said the walls between the units were eight inches thick and would provide a “good sound barrier”.

Objector Dr Nicholas Woodthorpe, of Grange Road, claimed the structure of the building meant that sound would travel and the amount of parking was very limited so there would be severe congestion in the area.

His neighbour Andrew Galletley added: “The buildings are of metal construction and unsuitable for such activities because the noise would not be deadened as in the case of a brick building.”

But Mr Jiggens said: “We’re trying to accommodate public demand and I personally feel Henley would benefit by having a locally run business.

“It seems that many of the consultation comments result from misunderstanding rather than disagreement.

“I feel most of the neighbours’ points reflect their assumptions of what could happen.”

The district council will make the final decision by October 23.

Meanwhile, the district council has banned the removal of several trees at the LA Fitness site.

It has applied a tree protection order to a small wooded area along the southern boundary beside Mill Lane.

The land was purchased last year by Henthames, of Loughton, which intends to convert it into a care home.

It is understood that the developer was considering chopping the trees down to build an access road.



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