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Plans to turn offices in Cynon Valley into gym approved

Brecon Road In Hirwaun (Pic: Google Maps)

COUNCILLORS have approved plans to turn offices in the Cynon Valley into a gym.

The application from Fairleap Limited for Fairleap House on Brecon Road in Hirwaun was approved by Rhondda Cynon Taf’s planning committee on Thursday, March 21.

The proposed gymnasium will contain a reception area, several treatment rooms, along with a gym/yoga area, kitchen/canteen, locker room, bike stores and associated facilities.

Parking spaces willl be kept as they are and provided to the side and rear of the building and a bike shelter is also proposed.

The proposal is for two full-time members of staff and three part-time members of staff with opening times being 6am-8pm Monday to Friday, and 9am-12pm on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays.

No external extensions or significant external alterations are proposed at the site and a small area of the building will be retained as office spaces.

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The site is occupied by the former Hirwaun Health Centre, which has more recently been used as office spaces.

The site is unallocated and is located within the settlement boundary limits of Hirwaun.

There were letters of objection from three people which said that they consider that a gymnasium set in a predominantly residential area would be unusual and incongruous at this location and they raised concerns with additional vehicle movements affecting Brecon Road.

They also raised concerns with a substandard access to the site and concerns with pedestrian safety crossing the access to the site.

Concerns were also raised with the increase in noise caused by the introduction of a gymnasium at this location and with the early opening times proposed.

They also raised concerns about previous breaches of planning control at the site and concerns about illegal drugs and steroids.

They also said that another gym is not needed in Hirwaun and there were requests that a fence is erected around the site to protect the privacy of neighbouring occupiers and limit the noise and disturbance caused by the proposed use.

In response to concerns about drugs and drug use in the vicinity of the site, the planning officers’ report said that should any illegal activity be undertaken at the site then the police and other relevant authorities would have powers to act.

In terms of previous planning breaches at the site, they said that each application must be considered on its own merits with the council assessing whether the proposed change of use of part of the building to a gymnasium would be acceptable in planning terms and should any breaches of planning occur in future at the site, then the council would have powers to take appropriate action.

In terms of a boundary fence between a neighbouring property and the application site, officers said a previous agreement between neighbours to erect a boundary fence would be considered a private matter between neighbouring occupiers.

They said an additional boundary treatment is not considered necessary as a condition to grant planning permission for the proposed use in respect of this development.

Planning officers recommended approval saying: ” The application site is located in a sustainable location and would make beneficial use of an existing building, providing employment opportunities and additional facilities within the key settlement of Hirwaun.

“Whilst the area is predominantly residential in character, the site has previously been used as a health centre and offices.

“In this context and considering past uses which have operated at the site, it is not considered that the proposed use of part of the building as a gymnasium would significantly impact upon the amenities or privacy of neighbouring occupiers.

“Furthermore, the proposal would not involve extension to the application building and would not impact upon the character and appearance of the site nor would the development have any adverse impact upon highway safety in the vicinity of the site.”