Green light for Tower Street Methodist Church in Exmouth to become a gym

A church in Exmouth town centre can be transformed into a gym after the scheme was given the green light.

Permission has been granted for Tower Street Methodist Church to become a fitness hub.

Applicant Shaun Springs, of East Budleigh, asked East Devon District Council (EDDC) for a change of use so the Grade II Listed holy landmark.

No internal alterations were proposed and all equipment will be freestanding

The new facility will create two full-time and four part-time jobs.

It will be open from 6.30am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, and 9am to 10pm on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays.

Granting the application planning permission under delegated powers, an EDDC officer said: “The church has been vacant for some time, and it is understood there has been limited interest as a place of worship.”

They added that the proposed use ‘is considered to be appropriate’ as it would ‘retain the variety and activity within the town centre’ and provide some, ‘albeit limited’, new employment.

“It would also bring a redundant listed building back into beneficial use,” said the officer.

Exmouth Town Council hailed the proposal as ‘brave’ and ‘fantastic’ when members discussed the bid in September.

Councillor Brian Bailey said at the time: “Best of luck to them if they can make a go of it.

“We’ve got two or three gyms in the town, so one more won’t hurt. I hope they do well.”

The church was marketed by Stratton Creber Commercial with a rental price of £25,000 a year.

The plans stated: “The proposal will bring the existing building into effective use, ensuring its upkeep and will not cause any detrimental impact on adjoining owners or the context.”

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