CHRISTCHURCH’S first 24-hour gym is set to open its doors in the town centre early next year.

Anytime Fitness will be taking over the units in Saxon Square formerly occupied by Priory Sports and New Look.

The plans for the gym proved controversial when they were first submitted to Christchurch council, with strong opposition from many residents and businesses.

Objectors voiced concerns over noise pollution with the 24-hour use and feared it would set a precedent for other 24-hour licences in the conservation area.

They also claimed another fitness club was not needed in the town centre.

Anytime Fitness’ initial proposals were approved in December 2017, but when New Look closed in September the club announced fresh proposals to expand the facility into the first floor of the former fashion retail store.

The gym, which is owned by franchisee Jasdeep Thandi, will be set over two floors and have a floorspace of 8,000sqft.

Up to 40 jobs will be created with the gym’s opening. As well as full-time club staff there will be “numerous opportunities” for self-employed instructors and personal trainers, Anytime Fitness says.

New club manager, James Bovett, said: “I’m thrilled to introduce Anytime Fitness to Christchurch.

“As well as offering high spec, modern fitness equipment, Anytime Fitness Christchurch will breathe new life into the area whilst creating a variety of jobs for people within the local community.

“I am confident the people of Christchurch will embrace this excellent facility and utilise its welcoming environment as an additional way to bring the community together.”

The club is anticipating strong interest in sign-ups and is encouraging the Christchurch community to take advantage of its pre-sale membership offer.

Mr Bovett added he was “pleased to be providing a service that will help to improve the health and wellbeing of the local community”.

He said: “The benefits of fitness, physical activity and sport are well-known within contemporary society, and we wish to encourage and reward those first individuals who want to become part of Anytime Fitness Christchurch club.

“This is a facility which will regenerate the local area in so many ways. It will be fantastic for everyone to be part of it.”

There are limited pre-sale memberships available before general monthly memberships commence.