Retail giant JD Sports has been granted planning permission aiming to convert its Newcastle store into a gym and shopping complex – subject to certain conditions.
The fashion and sportswear company currently runs a sizeable store on Northumberland Street, but the firm plans to expand following the departure of next door neighbour HMV.
The music, DVD and games giant has moved into new premises in Intu Eldon Square, to the former site of Sports Direct, and unveiled its new home to customers today, July 31.
The move has paved the way for JD Sports to apply to Newcastle City Council for planning permission to convert the block of two buildings into a massive leisure and retail complex, with a gym covering two floors.
And planning permission has now been granted, allowing the retail firm to transform the two buildings into a retail and leisure complex, with new frontage created on the ground floor, JD Sports’ fashion clothing and footwear being sold in the basement and on the ground floor, and JD Sports Gym taking up residence in the first and second floors.
Planners have granted permission, on the condition that the development is not opened until details of all plant and equipment to be installed which would affect external background noise, have been submitted and approved.
The city council team also want to know about any ventilation and air conditioning systems that might create extra noise, as well as how the company is planning to store refuse.
The team say they have put the conditions in place “to prevent nuisance from noise in the interests of the amenity of the surrounding area”.
Before its closure last week, HMV was well known for playing music from CDs it was selling, as well as hosting guest appearances by local bands, including Maximo Park and Simple Minds.
JD Sports announced plans in January to expand further into leisure, by opening its own chain of value gyms.
The first gym was opened in Hull on February 28, with memberships starting at £9.99 a month.
The firm took on Alun Peacock, former national operational manager of at DW Sports Fitness, to spearhead the new JD Gyms.
At the time, Peacock said: “We are investing £1 million in the site and when you make that kind of investment you are committing to that project. We also have a couple of other sites under offer in other big cities but those are deals we are working on at the moment.”
The two-floor gym – based on the first and second floors – would have two cardio areas with more than 70 machines, two strength zone with dozens of weight machines, a studio to host classes, a freeweight zone and a spinclass section for as many as 40 participants.
A large changing area with showers and two saunas is also on the plan.