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CrossFit Gym planning application proposed in St Werburghs

Saturday 2 February 2013

Local resident Andrew Clark has employed the firm Sutherland Property & Legal Services Ltd to propose a planning change of use of 2-4 and 6-8 York Street, St Werburghs, from its former industrial use to a new leisure-based function as a 'CrossFit' gym.

CrossFit, Inc. is a fitness company established in the United States (webeditor - where else?) in 2000. CrossFit's exercise program is practiced by members of over 4,400 affiliated gyms. It licenses the CrossFit name to gyms for an annual fee and certifies trainers. CrossFit describes its strength and conditioning program as 'constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement' with the stated goal of improving fitness. Workouts are typically short: 20 minutes or less, and intense, demanding all-out physical exertion. They combine movements such as sprinting, rowing, jumping rope, climbing rope, flipping tires, weightlifting, carrying heavy objects, and many bodyweight exercises; equipment used includes barbells, dumbbells, gymnastics rings, pull-up bars, kettlebells, medicine balls, and boxes for box jumps. More information here

As the design statement emphasises, the site has been vacant for the past two years, as the landlord, Kestrel Group Holdings, has been unable to secure tenants because of the present economic climate, despite ongoing marketing of the premises. The proposals will affect the internal layout of the buildings, to provide for workout areas, office, storage and toilets/changing facilities but there will be no changes to the exterior save any future advertisements required. This is therefore a Change of Use application.

The site is designated in the Bristol Core Strategy as a 'Principal Industrial and Warehousing Area' but states that other uses are also likely to be acceptable including Industrial or commercial training facilities, community facilities and specialised leisure uses, if the site has been vacant and does not prejudice the rest of the industrial estate.

The gym would be expected to generate at least 2 full time and 6 part time jobs for local people, with more predicted once the use is established. The job roles to be created will include trainers/instructors, cleaning staff and administrative/reception staff. Research suggests there are few other similar leisure facilities available within the St Werburghs area. The change of use of the site to a gym would offer a sociable and healthy activity (before or after work and at lunchtimes) to those living and working in the immediate area, and reduce local residents and employees need to travel to visit other similar facilities further afield.

Bristol City Council's car and cycle parking standards have been followed in proposing the parking arrangements for the Site. A total of 8 secure cycle storage spaces are proposed, and 8 car parking spaces, including one disabled space.

The Site lies within Flood Zone 2, as designated by the Environment Agency. The proposal is for a change of use but there would be no increased risk, with no residential use proposed.

The only improvement proposed in the energy performance of the building would be low flush toilets and extra insulation, because of the limited alteration of the building.

People can see the application here

Webeditor: On the face of it this looks like an innovative use of underused warehouse buildings. It would provide an active gym facility in the heart of St Werburghs and bring this corner of York Street to life. See here. It would be good to see some landscaping/tree planting in front of these buildings to improve the visual and environmental impact of this proposal. There will be concerns about on-street car parking associated with this site although most activity is likely to be outside peak working hours. For example local people have come to accept the extra street parking associated with The nearby Climbing Centre.


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