VALE of Glamorgan planning officers have recommended that the move to turn a gym into a wine shop be refused by the council’s planning committee.

It what will be a blow to Majestic and its wine drinking customer base, but good news for gym members of Anytime Fitness, planning officers have recommend not to approve the change of use of the ground floor of Moorwell Building, Penarth, from gym to retail.

The recommendation, issued in a ‘final report’ on March 13, said the gym is considered an “important existing leisure use for the community” and “it has not been demonstrated that there is alternative provision in the surrounding area”.

The report also noted “there is no clear demonstration that the current use is not economically unviable”.

The report said: “The gym use is considered an important existing leisure use for the community and their health and well-being.

“It has not been demonstrated that there is acceptable alternative provision in the surroundings and that the current use is not economically unviable.

“Furthermore, the gym is considered potentially likely to have a greater footfall to the town centre and beneficial to the vitality and viability more than the proposed retail use.

“It also beneficially adds to the diversification of uses within the town centre of Penarth.

“On balance, the application is recommended for refusal due to the impact of the loss of the gym.”

Penarth Times: Should ground floor of the Moorwells be a gym...Should ground floor of the Moorwells be a gym... (Image: Newsquest)

Penarth Times: ...or a wine shop?...or a wine shop? (Image: Majestic)

Pinot or push-ups? The saga of Anytime Fitness in Penarth

Anytime Fitness Penarth has had a tumultuous six months in the town.

Based on the ground floor of the Moorwell Building on Windsor Road below a number of flats, in October last year, the 24-hour gym was abruptly made to close when the owners of the building entered the premise, changing the locks and saying the lease had been forfeited.

Then, at the beginning of February, it was revealed a change of use planning application was submitted to Vale Council to turn the gym to retail to allow Majestic Wine to move in.

It looked as though it could happen as town councillors supported the application at a town council meeting on February 15.

This caused fury among residents, with many writing to their local councillors asking “due you actually speak for the people you represent?”

The level of anger led to the CEO of Majestic to release a letter explaining Majestic’s position in the situation.

John Colley, executive chairman at Majestic wrote to Anytime Fitness members: “The opportunity (in Penarth) was presented to Majestic as part of the landlord’s wider attempts to secure a new tenant, and our research indicates there is a strong demand for our position in Penarth.

“Throughout the process, Majestic has acted in good faith.”

Penarth Times: Majestic CEO John Colley's letter to Anytime membersMajestic CEO John Colley's letter to Anytime members (Image: Newsquest / Majestic)

On March 8, gym manager Rae Carpenter thanked the community for their support in what she described as hugely stressful times, however Ms Carpenter did hint the gym was staying, saying she was “confident” it was going nowhere.

Penarth Times: Manager of the gym Rae Carpenter, centre, thanked the community for their supportManager of the gym Rae Carpenter, centre, thanked the community for their support (Image: Newsquest)

Anytime Fitness working to secure gym’s future in Penarth

In their latest statement, released on March 12, Anytime Fitness said: “We are working closely with the current Penarth franchisee to secure the gym’s future and keep it open for the Penarth community.”

Majestic continue to decline to comment on the situation.

What’s your thoughts on the whole saga? Would you rather enjoy doing a press up, or would you have preferred buying a crate of pinot? Got a message for the gym staff? Let us know, emailing

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