Poundland site to become 24-hour gym
- Credit: Archant
Plans for the future of an empty pound store in Stowmarket have been given the green light.
The former Poundland store in Gipping Way will become a 24-hour gym run by PureGym, after Mid Suffolk District Council's development control committee agreed to a change of use for the site.
Previously it has housed other budget retailers before Poundland, but a change in retail patterns has resulted in those failing to work.
Councillor Dave Muller said: "This particular site has formerly been an Aldi store, a Family Bargains and a Poundland, and they have all fell because the shoppers do not tend to go that side very often for shopping, just for parking.
"So rather than see it as empty, I totally support it."
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The facilities include a retail area, gym floor with various weight machines, free weights area and an activity area split from a main gym by a screen.
According to PureGym, it is expected to create 13 full-time and two part-time jobs.
The plans received no objections, with the council's economic development team stating that they "encourage more leisure uses into the mix to create a broader offer, and encourage more linked uses of the town centre".
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It added: "The site lies off the main frontage areas and lacks passing footfall, making the unit more difficult to let to a retail operator - as evidenced by lengthy vacancy period and a regular churn of operator prior to that.
"However, a leisure use such as the proposed gym is more of a target destination and as such is less reliant on passing trade, yet is a viable, functional part of a broader leisure offer within the town centre."
The facility is understood to be the town's first 24/7 gym.
Councillor Sarah Mansel said: "Although I am not a fan of a gym, I actually think its quite good you have a gym in the centre of town because it is accessible by public transport.
"As has been said by colleagues, retail premises don't seem to have done particularly well there, and it's good to see this building put back into use rather than sitting there empty."
PureGym already has an Ipswich facility in the Buttermarket, with another at Haverhill Retail Park being developed.