Planning complications threaten popular gym
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.