New 24-hour gym to open at former Leyland Argos store

A new 24-hour gym is set to replace a former Argos store on a Leyland retail park.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 1:07 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd August 2021, 2:19 pm
The new health and fitness centre, operated by The Gym, will take over the Olympian Way unit next to The Range and Morrisons, off Golden Hill Lane. Pic: Google

The new health and fitness centre, operated by The Gym, will take over the Olympian Way unit next to The Range and Morrisons, off Golden Hill Lane.

The unit has stood empty since it was vacated by Argos 17 months ago, prompting the community to speculate about its future use.

But it has now been confirmed that new tenants have been secured, with The Gym eager to operate 24 hours-a-day at the retail site.

Gym staff and members will have use of the car parking to the front of the unit, where more than 550 car parking spaces are shared with Morrisons and The Range. Pic: Google

What do we know so far?

Urban Space Planning has submitted an application to South Ribble Borough Council on behalf of The Gym Ltd, seeking permission for the gym to open 24/7.

The unit's trading hours are currently restricted to 7am to 10pm, Monday to Sunday, but The Gym says around-the-clock access is needed to "ensure flexibility of use by its members".

An application to vary the operating hours is to be considered by the Council's planning committee, but a change of use application will not be required as both gyms and retail come under the same Class E regulations.

If permission to extend opening hours is granted, The Gym will begin refitting the unit with an opening date planned for early next year.

Planning documents also state that The Gym does not require any works to change the external appearance of the unit, or to change the existing floorspace within the unit. It says the size and floorspace of the unit will remain unchanged.

It says: "New tenants have been secured to bring the vacant property back into use and provide facilities and services for the local community.

"The Gym aims to increase access to health and fitness activities to a wide demographic to encourage and improve health by providing a low cost and flexible gym membership option.

"It has built a successful business model operating 24 hour health and fitness uses, and therefore, has considerable experience in ensuring that their units operate efficiently and without disruption.

"A key component of The Gym’s operation and offer to its members are its opening hours, with 24 hour opening times providing flexibility for its customers."

It says The Gym’s operations will include a range of cardiovascular (rowing, running, cycling, etc.) and resistance (weights) equipment for individual use. But it says it does not intend to provide studios or dance floor areas.

"As such there are no intensive activities undertaken as part of the operation and music will be limited to provide controlled low-level background music only," said The Gym in its planning application.

It added that it will offer its Leyland members "low cost membership, with no minimum contract period", but the cost of membership has yet to be confirmed.

The Gym's prices differ depending on location, with membership at the Preston branch starting at £13.99, but costing only £10.99 at the Blackpool site.

Staff and members will have use of the car parking to the front of the unit, where more than 550 car parking spaces are shared with Morrisons and The Range.

It will become The Gym's fourth Lancashire branch. The company currently operates more than 180 gyms nationwide, including a branch at Preston's Deepdale Stadium, as well as Blackpool and Burnley.