UK should follow the US in allowing gyms on the high street
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UK should follow the US in allowing gyms on the high street

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The UK's gym operators could thrive in town centre locations, helping to bring life back to places where retailing has retreated, says industry body, ukactive.

The organisation has called for changes to planning regulations to allow physical activity and leisure providers to apply for ‘change of use’ more easily.

gyms are obliged to occupy Class D2 category buildings (premises for entertainment and leisure), whereas shops occupy Class A1 buildings (shops and retail) on the high street.

The decline of the high street is no secret and estimates show that, in 2019, the number of shops lying empty rose by 7,500.

Because of restrictions to change of use, however, empty A1 buildings cannot be used to accommodate gyms, even if operators are keen to take them over – preventing gym operators from establishing a bigger presence on the high street.

ukactive CEO Huw Edwards said: “The physical activity sector is one of the fastest-growing and brings people into town centres.

"Our sector is perfectly placed to support the Government in its ambitions for ‘levelling up’ the economy and physical wellbeing of the country.

“This is a health crisis and we look forward to playing a central role – using our facilities and staff to help combat COVID-19 by strengthening the physical and mental health of people in every community.”

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The UK's gym operators could thrive in town centre locations, helping to bring life back to places where retailing has retreated, says industry body, ukactive.
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