Popular East Belfast gym finally gets planning green light

Motion Fitness on the Ravenhill Road
Motion Fitness on the Ravenhill Road -Credit:mark_carnaghan Instagram

A popular East Belfast gym is to stay in place after councillors at City Hall gave the planning thumbs up.

Elected representatives at the Belfast City Council Planning Committee this week approved a retrospective application for change of use from a Class A1 retail use and D2 dance hall to a gymnasium on the ground floor at 47 Ravenhill Road, BT6. The applicant was Mark Carnaghan, Motion Fitness.

102 representations of support of the gym were received by the council from the local community.

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Three consultations were required for the application, from the Stormont Department for Infrastructure Roads Division, Belfast City Council’s Environmental Health Services and the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland.

DfI Roads and the council were content with the plan, subject to planning conditions. HSENI advised against granting planning permission at the site.

The council planning report on the application states: “HSENI advice is based on a consideration of the type of development, the status and number of occupants and its proposed location relative to the Tennants Textiles Colour site.

“In general, HSENI will advise the Planning Service against proposals for new developments that would introduce large or vulnerable populations to the immediate vicinity of the site. This approach, and the methodologies used are consistent across the United Kingdom.”

The application site is the ground floor unit of the larger two storey building at 45-47 Ravenhill Road, and is undesignated whiteland. The character of the immediate area along this stretch of the Ravenhill Road is industrial and commercial in nature. There are residential uses further down the Ravenhill Road approximately 80 metres from the site.

The council report adds: “The applicant has confirmed that the gym is a controlled class-led system in which is based on the maximum number of eight members in each session, including two coaches equating 10 people.

“Saturday mornings have a slightly higher requirement, with up to 15 people attending a session including coaches. The gym currently has 97 members with a maximum capacity of 120 members. These 97 members are spread over 37 sessions per week.”

The report adds: “Based on this clarification and based on the evidence provided in the parking survey submitted to the council, it would be difficult to conclude that the parking situation would have such an adverse impact or overspill to cause significant impact upon the amenity of the area.”

It states: “Furthermore, there is high level public support for this gym from its members, staff, and the local community with 102 representations of support in favour of sustaining this gym at this location.”

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