Borough of Poole: Pure Town Planning are thrilled to announce that we have secured planning permission for the conversion of an existing industrial unit to a mixed martial arts gym (D2 use – leisure and assembly) with physiotherapy treatment rooms and cryotherapy chamber (D1 use – non-residential institutions) at the Glenmore Centre, Fancy Road, Poole.

The application property benefited from planning permission for B1 (office use), B2 (industrial use) and B8 (storage use) and is located within a commercial/industrial area that is designated as an “Existing Employment Area” as defined by the Borough of Poole Core Strategy.

Within designated Existing Employment Areas, local planning policy dictates that land and premises are safeguarded for B1, B2 and B8 uses. Alternative uses will be accepted by the Council providing the following criteria are met: 1) there is need for the proposed use to be in the employment area in question, due to close associations with neighbouring businesses; (2) the use would have a potentially harmful impact on amenity in more sensitive locations such as residential areas; or (3) there is a lack of suitable alternative sites, other than in existing employment areas, for the type of activity proposed.

In addition to the above, as the scheme proposed a leisure-based use the application had to be supported by a sequential test and impact assessment. The sequential test needed to demonstrate that there were no preferable locations for the proposal within the Poole town centre, an edge of centre location or within one of the Borough’s local centres. The impact assessment needed to consider the impact of the proposal on the viability and vitality of the town centre and local centres. 

Our reports demonstrated that there was an insufficient capability to service the proposed development elsewhere within the Borough. The report noted as the development provided a very specialist use, the proposal would have little to no impact on other businesses within the town centre and local centres. 

In favour of the scheme, we argued that the proposal would provide local employment for up to 19 people and therefore whilst the proposal was not strictly a business use (B1, B2 or B8) it would provide significant employment and therefore the proposal would not result of the loss of an employment generating use within an Existing Employment Area. In addition, we made clear that the proposed use was not suitable for a residential area due to the noise created the mixed martial arts gym i.e. noise from instructors, music and impact training such as punching and kicking sparring pads and throwing participants on to floor mats.

Upon considering the application and supporting documents, the Council agreed with our conclusions and moved to grant planning permission for the development. The client was delighted with the decision and has started to welcome clients to the premises.

This approval demonstrates that proposals which fall outside of traditional B use classes may be acceptable within an Existing Employment Area providing they provide an employment use, need to be located outside of a residential area and detailed evidence is provided to Council of alternative sites that have been considered which are outside of Existing Employment Areas. Other uses may include gyms and dance halls which require large open spaces.

If you have a commercial premise and would like to pursue a change of use application, or any other commercially-related planning application for that matter such as; increasing opening hours, new shopfronts, new signage, canopies etc. then why not call Pure Town Planning on 01202 585524 or email for a FREE 30 minute consultation on how we can help you.