A FORMER Mr World bodybuilder is opening a gym in County Durham next month.

Bodybuilders Anthony Bailes, who was Mr World in 2012 and is a former IFBB professional bodybuilder, and Charles Mardon, a three-times International IFBB Classic bodybuilding champion are setting up the venture on the Belmont Industrial Estate, Durham.

Ultraflex got planning permission to convert the unit on the Mandale Business Park, which used to be part of the LG Philips television factory, into a gym last month.

The former body builders are hoping to open in February.

The gym will feature facilities for weightlifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding, circuit training, functional fitness and a variety of fitness classes.

Mr Bailes, who also owns the Maxx Muscle gym in Hetton-le-Hole, said the unit will also feature a reception, changing rooms, a physiotherapy treatment centre, barber shop and kitchen offering a variety of healthy food.

He said: “There’s going to be something in there for everybody, whether you’re a body builder, fitness enthusiast or just someone who wants to keep fit.”

“Even if you just want a haircut or a bite to eat, this will be the place for you.”

Mr Mardon, who has opened gyms in Leeds, York, Hull, Normanton and Rotherham over the past two years, has plans to expand to 50 across the country over the next decade.

He said: "We are spending a fortune on the equipment and fit-out to put it on a par with the top health clubs but on a budget that makes it accessible to everyone.

“Too often people have the choice between a high-end and expensive health club, a low quality budget option or a spit and sawdust-style gym, and not much in between. We fill that gap, providing a facility that’s ideal for everyone from beginners to advanced professionals."

He added: “Durham is a great location and we think the business park is a great site.

“The unit itself is perfect for us because it’s been stripped back to the steel framework that once formed the LG Philips factory. It’s a blank canvas for us to create our vision for the perfect gym facilities.

“We feel our passion for the fitness industry will shine through.

"We’re not involved with this on a purely commercial basis – we are committed to producing something we are proud to put our names to.”