Dereham department store set for revamp as plans for new 800 user gym on site unveiled
A former department store which closed its doors in Dereham last year could be given a new lease of life, if plans to transform the vacant site into a gym go ahead.
Chattels of Dereham, on Norwich Street, shut up shop in November, with the owners "committed" to finding a new tenant for the site.
And the former store, which was the vision of Norfolk business owner Basil Todd, could soon be converted into a two-storey gym, after plans were submitted to the district council last month.
Nathan Gostling, owner of NR Health and Fitness Club, who applied to convert the building into a health and fitness club, described opening the gym in his hometown as a "life's ambition."
The 29-year-old from Dereham, who runs gyms in Wymondham and Attleborough, received £20,000 in funding from a district council start up scheme and hopes to attract up to 800 members from the town and surrounding area
"I had to put together a business plan and pitch the idea," he said.
"They offered the chance to pitch for up to £20,000 and I managed to get the full amount.
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"It has been one of my life's ambitions to open a gym here.
"It's a health and fitness club for everybody - we're catering for affordable fitness and giving people value for money."
Plans for the site include minor internal remodelling of the 430m building, to install changing rooms and showers for gym users.
Mr Gostling said: "If we get approved for change of use I'd like to get into the unit on August 1, to do the changing rooms and showers and open on October 1.
"We'll be offering 40 classes a week including membership with no contracts or joining fees.
Proposals for the project would see exercise equipment across two floors, with toilet facilities including disabled access, and new signs surrounding the gym.
There are no changes planned for the external building design, access arrangements or transport.
A design and access statement described the site as "the ideal space over two floors offering customers a personal and friendly facility," as well as a central location with "ideal parking".
Mr Gostling added: "We feel there will be a benefit to the town by increased footfall to support the town's growth and attract new people to the area.
Membership will cost £26.99 a month, with a discounted rate for NHS and other workers of £21.99.
The council is due to make a decision by Tuesday, June 25.
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