A discount retailer who plans to demolish a local gym and their existing store so they can replace it with a new larger store has justified their scheme with an assessment which concludes that the Energie Fitness Club "can be considered to be surplus to requirements."
A Leisure Needs Assessment has been submitted on behalf of Lidl to support their plans to deliver a replacement Lidl food store, which will be approximately twice the scale of the existing Lidl store, within Summerfields Village Centre on Dean Row Road.
The report identifies eight swimming pools and 1,045 fitness stations provided across 11 separate facilities which are all located within an 8 to 10 minute drive from the Energie Fitness Club. Adding that the level of provision is set to increase to 1,120 following the planned opening of a new Anytime Fitness club in Wilmslow town centre, which received planning permission in May 2017.
The assessment also looks at studio space which it says is provided at the majority of the health and fitness suites identified and the opening of the Anytime Fitness club will compensate for the loss of the studio at Energie Fitness, stating "There will, therefore, be no reduction in the number of studio facilities. It should be expected that the brand new studio space at Anytime Fitness will offer a higher quality facility than the existing Energie Fitness studio space."
The Leisure Needs Assessment also points out that given Wilmslow Leisure Limited, which runs the Energie Fitness Club, filed a Company Voluntary Arrangement which took effect in April 2017 (prior to the submission of the Lidl planning application) the club faces difficulties to remain solvent.
The report concludes "The Energie Club could, therefore, cease trading regardless of the proposed Lidl development. It has been demonstrated that the closure of the Club will not prejudice the ability of local residents to meet their fitness needs, with there being a significant supply of public and private swimming pools, health and fitness suites and studio space within the study area. Exercise classes currently run from Energie Fitness will relocate to a nearby club, with other ancillary facilities also relocating within the local area.
"Therefore, in the context of Local Plan Policy SC1 and Paragraph 74 of the NPPF, the Energie Fitness Club can be considered to be surplus to requirements."
Lidl's controversial proposal has generated over 250 letters of objection and a petition containing 600 signatures of local residents and gym members who are opposed to the building of a new Lidl store adjacent to their existing store, on the site currently occupied by the Energi Fitness Club was delivered to Cheshire East Council at the end of August.
Lidl's planning applications (reference 17/3208M) is scheduled to be determined by the Northern Planning Committee at their meeting on at Macclesfield Town Hall on Wednesday, 6th December.
If planning permission is granted then Lidl proposes to phase the development so the existing store will remain in operation whilst the new store is constructed and will cease trading and be demolished to provide car parking on the opening of the replacement store.
All existing members of staff will be transferred to the new store and it is expected that two additional full-time and 10 to 15 additional part-time jobs will be created.