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A former Inverness shoe shop is to reopen as a gym

By Louise Glen

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A former Inverness shoe shop is set to become a gym after planners gave the proposal their backing.

The move means the empty Brantano store, at Inshes Retail Park, can become the city’s first budget PureGym site.

Highland Council approved the application for a change of use, from retail to a gym, which was submitted by Greenridge Inverness Propco Limited.

The permission is subject to a number of conditions including that, within nine months of starting, the operator must provide full details of an active travel link between Inshes Retail Park and Sir Walter Scott Drive.

The decision states: “Details shall include measures to ensure that the link is suitable for use by walking, wheeling and cycling as well as measures to ensure the safety of users such as signage and road markings where the link would cross the section of service road leading to the Inshes Tesco store.

“Following approval, the works shall be completed within six months from the date of approval in writing by the planning authority.”

The reason given was to mitigate the transport impacts arising from the development to make walking, wheeling and cycling a more attractive travel option to the site.

Developers are hoping to make external alterations, install a rear plant, and construct an internal mezzanine.

The site is a few store units away from the established Bannatyne Fitness gym.

A planning statement accompanying the original application said that the site is within easy reach of several communities – including Inshes, Drakies, Raigmore Estate, Crown, Milton of Leys and Hilton – and added: “As such, a notable proportion of the city population is both located within walking and cycling distance and served by local bus services.

"Importantly, Inshes Retail Park is also in closer proximity to many households in south, west and east Inverness than the city centre or either of the other two defined commercial centres.”

Brantano went into administration in March 2017 and, according to the applicant, the unit has since been extensively marketed with no credible retail interest shown.

The ground floor of the vacant site covers an area of 679 sq m and it also has a mezzanine level of 465 sq m, which forms part of the proposed development, giving a total unit floorspace of 1144 sq m.

External alterations would include new replacement entrance doors.

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