A GALASHIELS councillor says he is concerned that a proposed new gym in the town could impact “already established” businesses.

Plans have been submitted to the council for a new gym at Gala Water Retail Park in the unit that was formerly occupied by Clarks.

Despite being “open” to new businesses in Galashiels, one of the town’s councillors, Euan Jardine, has expressed concern at the proposals.

“I am very much open to businesses coming to Galashiels and taking over vacant properties,” said Mr Jardine, who is also Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for wellbeing, sport and culture.

“I am also very much in favour of options being created for people seeking to exercise and live a healthier lifestyle.

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“However, I do have a concern that already established and independent gyms like the 24-hour Titan 365 and others could be impacted by this proposal.”

The Conservative representative added that “the local fitness industry was one of the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic”, with many “just starting to recover”.

A report put to the council states: “The proposed development will result in the re-occupation of a vacant unit, representing sustainable development, generating new jobs for the local area and increasing recreation opportunities to contribute positively to wellbeing in the area.”

According to the report, the gym would operate 24 hours of the day, seven days a week.

No objections to the plans were registered by members of Galashiels Community Council at this month’s meeting.

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Objection comments have been posted on the council’s planning portal in regard to the proposed gym.

One objector states that “there’s no need for another gym”, with the retail park space better filled by “a clothing outlet for men and boys”.

Another comment reads: “Galashiels already has Trifitness, Titan 365, RDAS CrossFit and a small facility in Tweedbank.

“These are all evenly spaced around the town. COVID-19 has placed tremendous pressure on these businesses already.”