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Old Safeway site in North Harrow to become 24-hour gym
A North Harrow empty retail unit that has become a symbol of the “dying” high street for four years will be turned into a 24-hour gym after the project won planning permission.
Harrow Council granted permission to The Gym Limited to open a new 1,000 sq metre health and fitness club on the ground floor of the former Safeway site in Pinner Road last night.
The large ground floor space has been empty ever since the old supermarket and bowling alley were demolished in 2005 and 112 flats were built in their place in 2008.
The unit was earmarked for a supermarket in the redevelopment, but the owner of the site has struggled to attract any retailers and councillors hope the gym will provide a focal point to attract more people to the area’s high street.
A range of retailers including Tesco, Halfords, Aldi, Waitrose and Morrison’s have been approached about the building, but none had shown interest.
Businesses along Pinner Road and Station Road told the Harrow Times last month that although they would prefer a supermarket to kick-start “dying” trade, the gym was “better than nothing”.
Nearly 20 per cent of the retail space in North Harrow is vacant, with the gym’s site representing more than a quarter of that.
Some objections had been lodged by tenants living in the flats above the site, who had argued a 24-hour gym would be too noisy, but councillors decided as long as measures were taken to soundproof the building the impact would be insignificant.
The Gym Limited told the Harrow Times it would provide more details about when work would start and its ambitions for the project next week.