A COUNCIL investment of £280,000 into a retail park will be carried out to prepare a unit for a 24-gym operator to open on the site before the end of the year.

As part of a contractual agreement between BCP Council and PureGym, the local authority has launched a tender for a mezzanine floor and lift to be installed in a currently vacant premises on the Mallard Road Retail Park.

Councillor David Brown, BCP Council cabinet member for finance, said: “Planning consent for Unit 4b at Mallard Road Retail Park was granted in July 2019 for a change of use from retail unit into D2 Leisure/Gym use. This unit is set to be occupied by PureGym.

“It is commonplace for landlords to undertake regular improvements, structural or enabling works to their commercial units, as part of new agreed lease terms.

“In this case, the investment is for the provision of a new mezzanine floor and lift. The costs of landlord’s works are budgeted and considered as part of the commercial lease terms agreed for the letting.

“The new tenant will be responsible for all the internal fit out costs to this unit.”

As previously reported, Bournemouth Borough Council purchased Mallard Road Retail Park for £49million, using money borrowed from other local authorities.

A year ago, just months before the site was transferred to BCP Council during the councils merger, it was revealed that £1million in rent had been lost due to both Homebase and Carpetright entering into company voluntary arrangements (CVAs). Later in the year Homebase closed down and vacated the site.

PureGym is set to move into a scaled down space that was vacated by BHS close July 2016. Part of the unit was filled by Aldi, however, an area between the supermarket and Poundland was left unoccupied. This space will be filled by the 24-hour gym.

A spokeswoman for PureGym said: “PureGym is delighted to confirm that it is to open a gym in Mallard Road Retail Park to complement our existing gyms in Bournemouth centre and Poole.

“We have identified a significant gap in low cost gym provision to the North East of the town, and this site gives us the opportunity to bring affordable health and fitness to a much greater proportion of the local population.

“The gym will open before the end of the year.”