PERMISSION is being sought to transform a business unit into a fitness centre.

Plans have been submitted to Durham County Council to turn unit three, at Aycliffe Business Park, Newton Aycliffe, into a leisure facility.

The applicants, Aspire Fitness, hope that the development will boost employment in the town.

They said: “Aspire Fitness is currently located on Aycliffe Business Park, Durham Way North and after eight years in business the owners are looking to expand to provide more services, in the hopes of creating a larger and more spacious environment and generate additional employment.

“Unit three, Northfield Way, Aycliffe Business Park, has been empty and unsuccessfully marketed by Connect Property North East (CPNE), the acting agents, since December 2019, for B class uses. They

have marketed it through their website, Zoopla, Building and Road Signs and it has also been marketed by the owners, Ashtenne.

“Health and Fitness is paramount to wellbeing and we are strong advocates of this. In addition, employee mental health and well-being is such an important part of taking care of your staff, therefore, being close to a lot of businesses on the business park is a great opportunity to progress our corporate events as part of the ‘Better Health at Work Initiative’.

“We provide a non-intimidating environment that has a real community feel to it, so that no matter what age, fitness level, or gender you are, for example, you will always feel welcome and looked after.

“Our member endorsements are testament to this and we have a strong retention rate.”

The applicants said they have no plans to make any alterations to the external building.

Potential exercise class sizes are varied and can range between 10 and 30 people – depending upon the time of day.

The proposals state the most popular time will be 6pm on an evening, which will see the larger class size of up to 30.

Aspire Fitness specialises in exercise classes and said they do not have commercial gym equipment but do use light barbells which do not cause noise or damage.

The brand started to search for alternative premises in October 2019, which included Thames House, in Newton Aycliffe, a retail development, at The Parade and G.H. Palin and Sons, MOT Testing Centre, in the town.

After exhausting main town centre premises, the brand decided to explore Aycliffe Business Park as said their business would fit in with the leisure facilities already on site.

Applicants also said the building is suitable in size and structure.

In the applications supporting information they said: “There are 40 car parking spaces available at the front of the unit and ten car parking spaces available at the back of the unit.

“Peak time for us is 6pm where we can expect 30 attendees and there would be sufficient car parking and cycle spaces available.”

Comments on the proposals can be submitted online at durham.gov.uk