Gym enhances district shopping centre

The change of use of a ground floor clothing shop to a twenty-four hour gym in a London borough district shopping centre secondary frontage won the approval of an inspector.

The council was concerned that the proposal would result in an unacceptable loss of a retail unit and create an over-concentration of non-A1 retail uses, undermining the community hub provided by the district centre, stating that the proportion of frontage length in non-retail uses would exceed a policy threshold of fifty per cent and three adjoining units.

The inspector identified a gym as a main town centre use, as defined in the glossary of the NPPF, and noted Paragraph 85 encourages a positive approach to the adaptation of town centres, and questioned whether the local plan policy showed sufficient flexibility of approach as required by national policy. Highlighting the benefits of diversification and a new customer base, the inspector decided the gym would in fact breathe new life into and increase the vitality and viability of the district centre and so allowed the appeal.

Inspector: William Cooper; Written representations

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