Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Planning setback for new gym

PLANS to open a new gym in Henley have been suffered a setback after town councillors

PLANS to open a new gym in Henley have been suffered a setback after town councillors recommended that planning permission is refused.

Malcolm Jiggens, from Binfield Heath, has applied to South Oxfordshire District Council to open a health and fitness centre at Centenary Business Park, off Station Road.

He wants to convert two commercial units which he owns and will become vacant on Thursday when catering company Place Settings’s lease expires.

Two households in Grange Road, which backs on to the site, have objected on the grounds they would be disturbed by the extra noise.

They have been supported by Henley Town Council’s planning committee, which said the corrugated steel building could not be fully insulated to contain the sound of music and exercise equipment.

The committee also said Mr Jiggens’s application only outlined plans for one unit and lacked information such as how many stations there would be. Members said they would consider withdrawing their objection if more details were provided.

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.”

Councillor Sam Evans said: “I wouldn’t rule this out as I can see solutions to these problems but I couldn’t vote for it at the moment because of the lack of detail.”

The gym would be on two floors with a total floor space of 3,750 square metres. On the ground floor there would be a small studio offering spin, pump and aerobics classes as well as a fixed weights area and a cafe.

Upstairs there would be changing rooms, a stretching and toning area and cardiovascular machines such as treadmills, stationary bikes and cross-fit machines.

The number of parking spaces would be reduced from six to five but eight cycle spaces would be created.

Mr Jiggens says the conversion would cost more than £100,000 and that the gym could open by January 1.

He wants permission to open from 6am to 10pm from Monday to Friday and 7am to 9pm at weekends.

Objector Dr Nicholas Woodthorpe, of Grange Road, wrote that 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.”

Both men aid the LA Fitness gym in Newtown Road, which closed last month, had 70 parking places and these were often full.

The district council will make a decision by October 23.

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