Keep-fit fans are set for a major boost in South Derbyshire with two new gym projects breathing life into Swadlincote town centre.
US-based Snap Fitness is hoping to open a 24-hour gym in the former Brantanos shoe shop unit, in the Pipeworks, off Coppice Side, and plans are also in the pipeline for another gym at Sharpe's Industrial Estate, in Alexandra Road.
Leicester-based TK Twenty 4 Fitness Ltd, has been named as applicants for Snap Fitness, while J Whittaker of Sharpes Bros and Co Ltd is behind the industrial estate scheme. Sharpe's gym could be opened up in one of four new units recently built on site.
National store chain Brantanos closed in March after the group fell into administration, and despite a marketing campaign, no other retailers have come forward to take on the empty unit.
The proposed gym will be largely open plan and will comprise distinct work out areas, including a cardio area, free weights section and weight machines.
Minor internal alterations will be required including partitions to create an office, shower and changing facilities. A separate studio space is also proposed at first floor level and this will be delivered through the creation of a 234 square metre mezzanine floor.
Snap Fitness is described as a members-only facility and access will be gained via an electronic security tag system which is connected to the membership database.
In a report to the council, Baldip Basi, of Resolution Planning acting as agent to the former Brantano site project, said there had been a downturn in retailers taking up sites in the town centre due to the emergence of out of town shopping and the internet.
It said: "Despite town centres being the main shopping locations for the past 30 years, their role has changed dramatically due to the emergence of out of town and internet shopping which had led to a general decline in town centre activity. Consumers are now looking to their town centres to fulfil a much wider function than just retailing alone and emerging trends suggest that consumers want a greater leisure and culinary experience from their shopping centre visits.
"As a result, the role and function of town centres is evolving and they are now increasingly being used for an all-encompassing retail, leisure and social experience. Cinemas, restaurants, cafes and health and fitness centres all fulfil an important and complementary function to the shopping experience
"The likelihood of letting the unit for retail uses is low, thus demonstrating that the use is no longer viable."
Both applications are due to be decided at the end of October. It is not yet known how many jobs will be created through the two schemes.