Women-only gym wins appeal to open despite objections

A company were initially refused permission to open the gym in the south of Glasgow after residents raised noise concerns.

Glasgow women-only gym wins appeal to open in Shawlands despite objections LDRS

A women-only gym can open in Shawlands after developers overturned a council decision to reject the plan.

ZR Holdings Ltd was initially refused permission to turn the former Poundworld shop on Kilmarnock Road, next to the James Tassie pub, into a gym, after residents had raised noise concerns.

But the firm launched an appeal, arguing the building’s future is “uncertain if  re-use does not occur as a matter of urgency” and noise issues could be managed.

Now, councillors on the city’s planning review committee have ruled in favour of the proposal. They decided to limit noise levels in the gym before 8am and after 8pm.

The premises will be able to open from 6am to 10pm on weekdays and 8am to 10pm at weekends. In the basement, there will be an exercise area, changing rooms, showers, sauna and tanning area, while, on the ground floor, a reception area, small shop, gym area, two studios and an office are planned.

Council planners had rejected the scheme as they believed the use would create “noise disturbance” and “unacceptably negatively impact on residential amenity”.

They also said the proposal would “fail to support the retail function of Shawlands town centre”.

Five objections had been submitted by residents which raised noise concerns as well as parking issues. Environmental health staff had also objected “on grounds of the noise and vibration impacting neighbouring residents”.

One objector said a previous women-only gym in the area had been “unable to maintain business”. They described parking in Shawlands as “horrendous”.

However, the applicant’s appeal said the plan would “transform a long-term vacant retail unit into an all-female gym”. It argued there has been “no demand from retail occupiers”.

An appeal statement claimed to “refuse the proposal because it is not a retail use represents the dogmatic application of unrealistically restrictive planning policy”, which wasn’t “in the best interest of the town centre”.

It stated the premises has “fallen into significant disrepair and the structure’s future remains uncertain if reuse does not occur as a matter of urgency”. The applicant added noise nuisance concerns can be “controlled via planning conditions”.

Cllr Eva Bolander, SNP, who chaired the committee, said: “I think it is sad when there are empty units, gaping holes in the high street, which this very much is.”

She added there are “always issues when we have noise next door to residential premises, with the right mitigation and with the right conditions I think this can be well seen to”.

Bailie Thomas Kerr, Conservative, said: “I think this is a really interesting development, it brings into use a building which is quite shabby looking. Considering the regeneration that Shawlands is going through, it really does make this area more attractive.”

Cllr Declan Blench, SNP, added: “I was concerned about the noise but I think with sufficient conditioning, we can mitigate against the noise. I think the people who choose to live on main roads and town centre areas seldom expect silence.”

However, Cllr Martha Wardrop, Greens, said she was “not convinced about this being the right proposal for this space”. “I appreciate the need for people to be able to exercise but they also need to be able to sleep and relax,” she said.

The Kilmarnock Road unit had been home to a range of restaurants and a pub before Poundworld took over. It has been empty for over four years.

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