Welwyn Garden City gym forced to close

A GYM has been forced to close after just eight months – because it did not have permission to open in the first place. Hydrashape Me in WGC will close this week because planning officers at Welwyn Hatfield Council realised the company

A GYM has been forced to close after just eight months - because it did not have permission to open in the first place.

Hydrashape Me in WGC will close this week because planning officers at Welwyn Hatfield Council realised the company had not submitted a change of use planning application to open a gym in the building.

But ironically, the council sent an official dignitary to open the facility back in January.

Councillor Kim Langley, who was then deputy mayor, attended the opening ceremony in the MLS Building on Bridge Road East.


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But less than a year later, planning officers turned up at the gym and gave manager Julia Cocklin a choice: submit a planning application or close.

Having been told a retrospective application for change of use was unlikely to succeed, and with no other prospective sights to move to, Julia felt she had little choice but to shut down the gym.

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"I thought I was doing a good thing for WGC," said Julia. "We were taking on new members every month, but now that's it; I'm going to have to close it."

A council spokesman said: "The council has not received a planning application from Hydrashape Me gym to operate within the building.

"The council advised them of the courses of action available to avoid us taking enforcement action, which included submitting a planning application or closing.

"They did not submit a planning application and the building has closed instead."

Speaking about the VIP official opening the spokesman added: "Both the mayor and deputy mayor remain apolitical during their term and it is not the role of the mayor's office to check every business complies with council regulations. Both receive many invites from the community and their attendance supports the array of activity happening in the borough.

"The council got in contact with the owners of Hydrashape Me just after the gym opened. When the council offers advice on the options available to businesses or residents to avoid planning enforcement action, the owners are also told if there is a chance that a planning application could be refused.

"This enables the avoidance of any unnecessary expenditure on the applicant's part and allows them to make an informed choice on how best to proceed.

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