Caistor Citizen

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A gym owner made a dramatic appeal last night (Wednesday, February 14, 2008) for Caistor Town Council to intervene after encountering a new complication in a long-running saga over planning issues.

Amy Atkins opened BFitLincs at the former Toppers Store at Caistor Top in October 2016. The facility has proved popular, attracting 800 members, last night’s town council meeting heard.

Though she has never publicly discussed her difficulties, the January 2017 meeting of Caistor Town Council had been told that planners were unhappy with the gym’s location, fearing it would attract pedestrians who would have to cross the A46 near a busy crossroads.

This suggestion was criticised by the Chairman of Caistor Town Council’s Planning Committee at that time, Cllr Alan Caine. Cllr Caine said it was unclear why the gym would attract any more pedestrians than the Toppers retail outlet had done.

A few months ago, a petition briefly appeared in Caistor Post Office asking people to sign if they supported the gym’s proposed move to a location in Brigg Road. Post Office staff told the public that the gym had been asked to demonstrate a need for the facility there.

Ms Atkins attended the January 2018 town council meeting to confirm that she was hoping to continue with her plan to move the gym to Brigg Road.

She attended last night’s meeting to report that she had received a communication earlier in the day, saying there was an issue with her proposed new location “because it was not in Caistor.”

“It’s a little bit worrying,” she said. “The move was supported by the town council last month, but the planning department said it was just outside an 800m zone from Caistor Market Place. It is literally on the dotted line.”

Ms Atkins showed councillors a map of her gym’s proposed new location in relation to the boundary of the 800m zone. It is believed her new premises had previously been used for commercial purposes.

“At the moment I am paying two rents,” said Ms Atkins. “There are massive financial implications. There is a danger I could go under. I cannot afford to keep two businesses running. There is a gym at the Yarborough Academy but that is closing in May. I have more than 800 members. It is such a popular gym.”

Deputy Mayor Jon Wright, Caistor’s recently-elected planning chairman after Cllr Deborah Barker stepped down, confirmed that councillors had given the gym’s new location their full support. “There is a new footpath on Brigg Road. I cannot see that there is any issue,” he said.

Cllr Stephen Gaughan expressed concern at the situation. “If we lose that facility, Brigg is the nearest gym,” he said.

West Lindsey District Councillor Owen Bierley was invited to address the town council about the matter.

“The issue is to do with two radiuses drawn up as part of the Neighbourhood Plan. The building is on the 800m line,” he said. He added, “I understand that zone was to do with housing, rather than commercial use. The site is only 400m from housing. The procedure is that it would normally go to planning committee.” He had personally made an appeal for the application to be decided more quickly.

Town councillors agreed to write to West Lindsey’s Chief Operating Officer over the issue.

* Councillors also agreed to support a planning application to create three new flats and a shop at the former NatWest Bank in Caistor Market Place.

Pictured is the location of BFitLincs’s original site at Caistor Top.

10 thoughts on “Planning complications threaten popular gym

  1. For goodness sake! Give the girl all the support possible – we need as many facilities as we can get in Caistor – The site was always considered to be in Caistor when it was Ranyard Signs – This just seems to be nitpicking as per usual.
    The gym is very popular and it must be a worry to have 2 premises to pay for. Let her get on with it and quickly!

    • Unfortunately it is Caistor’s own Neighbourhood Plan that creates the planning difficulty. It isn’t possible to ignore these once they are in place and the plan requires leisure uses to be in the town centre. This is a little way outside at acceptable area in that plan, so it just has to follow a slightly more complicated planning route to get around that restriction. Not Amy’s or the District Council’s fault and not able to just be ignored unfortunately, these plans set a planning rules in their own right and whether or not the idea is good, there are implications when neighbourhood plans have been adopted.

      • I should have added, i agree the proposed site is part of Caistor, it definitely is. The neighbourhood plan sets rules about distances, and this is outside of those, hence the complication.

  2. I absolutely agree with Sue. The gym is very popular and in high is exactly what the area has needed. Over 800 members shows this. It has offered employment opportunites to local residents including myself. Its not just a gym, it offers children a range of age appropriate classes, adults either gym or classes, special gentle classes for the older generation. It is a friendly facility and all people are welcome which is why its so popular. Amy has done a fantastic job in making sure it is not a judgemental place and more like a big fitness community. Caistor has become much more of a fitness town which is great. Please support Amy. For mind, sole and body of the local area!

  3. Whats the latest situation? Good luck to her it seems some people and committees are just out to make things as hard as they can

  4. What complete wasters WLDC members appear to be! Yet another indication that only the affairs of Gainsborough are of interest. I use the gym twice a week, and support its move, or its remaining where it is. Yet more evidence that civil servants have no idea of how to run a business. This is the sort of thing that is making this country a failed force.

    • I agree Brian. They should have been able to explain that is was Caistor’s own neighbourhood plan that has caused the additional planning considerations. you would expect them to know this.

  5. This facility is really needed in Caistor. Not everyone has the ability to travel to Brigg or Grimsby. Every support should be given to enterprises that encourage well-being and provide a social outlet for the community.

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