CrossFit gym to open in Hartlepool - owner says fitness 'more important than ever'

Plans have been approved for a new gym to open at an industrial estate in Hartlepool, specialising in CrossFit.

Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 1:19 pm

Councillors on Hartlepool Borough Council Planning Committee unanimously approved the plans for unit 9a in Park View Road West at a meeting on Wednesday, October 7.

Submitted by Ashley McFee, the plans state the site would be a CrossFit focused facility running ‘small, professional and well taught fitness classes’ led by qualified trainers.

The unit at Park View Industrial Estate is currently empty and was last used as a tyre fitting facility.

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File picture of a session taking place at a CrossFit gym elsewhere in the country

Speaking at the planning committee meeting, Mr McFee stated the gym would help people improve their health and create employment opportunities.

He said: “Opening a gym in Hartlepool has been a key objective and something that we, especially myself, have always wanted.

“It may perhaps be perceived that this is not the best time to open a gym given the pandemic, but to us it’s the perfect opportunity.

“There’s not only a demand for this but it’s now more important than ever that health and wellbeing is supported and encouraged.”

The former tyre fitting facility, which will now become a gym

‘I wanted to control my destiny’

With plans approved, Mr McFee can now press ahead with opening the gym.

But it comes as the sector faces a difficult time during the pandemic. Gyms were forced to close during the national lockdown, and only allowed to reopen under strict restrictions.

Some customers have also been nervous about returning.

But Mr McFee said the venture is all about looking to a bright future.

He has managed his own gym in the past, and said when the Covid-19 lockdown began he made the move to look to open his own business to ‘control his destiny’.

He said: “When the lockdown began it was a very very worrying time for myself and my family, it became very apparent that my job was at risk.

“As a result we took the decision to be in control of our own destiny really and moved towards setting up our own business.”

Ahead of the meeting more than 40 letters of support had been submitted praising the plans, and council planning officers had recommended the proposals were given the go ahead.

However four objections had also been received, raising concerns over the impact it could have on highway and pedestrian safety, and the lack of car parking at the site.

Mr McFee said the gym would do ‘everything they can’ to work with nearby businesses, and noted an additional entry point will provide members with direct access to the gym.

He added he does not expect a high number of vehicles at one time at the site, and designated parking bays will be available away from the compound where the gym is located.

Councillors on the committee praised the plans and the work done by the applicant to date.

Cllr Stephen Akers-Belcher said: “CrossFit is an international brand and it’s something which is exciting for the town and it’s good to hear the enthusiasm from the applicant.”

Cllr Paddy Brown added it is ‘always good to see new businesses opening in the town’.

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