Plans to convert former Argos and Belvoir premises in Welwyn Garden City town centre

PUBLISHED: 16:48 13 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:01 13 March 2019

The former Argos and Belvoir premises in Welwyn Garden City could become a gym. Picture: Nina Morgan

The former Argos and Belvoir premises in Welwyn Garden City could become a gym. Picture: Nina Morgan

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Plans have been submitted to Welwyn Hatfield Council to convert the former Argos and Belvoir premises in Welwyn Garden City.

A Hertfordshire gym wants to open a location in the currently vacant spaces in Longcroft House on Fretherne Road in the town centre.

The applicant, Rise Gym Ltd, which has a primary location in Stevenage, is seeking permission to change the use of the two ground-floor units from retail and professional services to retail and gymnasium.

A separate proposal by another applicant for a gym in the town centre, in the former Costcutter and post office premises at 17-19 Howardsgate, was refused by the council in 2017.

According to the Rise Gym application, the new proposal would create 20 full and part-time jobs, including management, personal training and cleaning.

The former Argos and Belvoir premises in Welwyn Garden City could become a gym. Picture: Nina Morgan.The former Argos and Belvoir premises in Welwyn Garden City could become a gym. Picture: Nina Morgan.

The “premium but affordable” gym would be open seven days a week and operate from 6am to 10pm on Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm on Saturday and from 8am to 4pm on Sunday and bank holidays.

It would have a focus on strength and conditioning, yoga, high intensity interval training and spin classes.

A planning, design and access statement on behalf of the gym states: “The Rise Gym model is geared towards commuters who would expect the high quality gym experience they could find in a large city, as well as the local population.”

The statement notes that expanding into the retail market - and generating revenue from sales including sports clothing, gym accessories, meal preparation and protein product - is “crucial to the future of the business model”.

It also states: “The ideals of Rise Gym also include an aim to work with local schools, charities and the wider community, work with local entrepreneurs, and champion the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to mental health.”

The application is under consultation until March 25.

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