A PLAN to open a new gym on a business park which was rejected by the council because it was too far out of the town centre will now be allowed to go ahead.

Malvern Hills District Council rejected a plan by personal trainer Craig Johnson to open a new gym, Matrix Fitness, at a former laboratory on the Advantage Business Park off Spring Lane South in Malvern over fears it could potentially harm other business in Malvern Link.

Council planners have now decided the gym can open after reassessing the plan and finding no alternative locations closer to the town could be used.

A planning report by the council explaining the decision said Mr Johnson had shown the gym could not open elsewhere and there had been no interest in the vacant site on the industrial site for more than a year.

"Whilst there is a desire to protect employment uses on the Spring Lane Industrial Estate it acknowledged that the supporting evidence submitted by the applicant demonstrates that in this case suitable alternative space to accommodate the growth of this gym cannot be identified elsewhere in the area," the report said.

"Furthermore, it is accepted that the proposals will also lead to additional jobs."

Council officers had said the planning application had originally failed some of its tests because Mr Johnson had not said whether any other locations had been considered.

The council said that despite the unit on the business park being empty, it could not allow it to be converted into a gym when there were still empty shops in the town centre.

Mr Johnson put his plan back to the council in May which was quickly approved at the end of July.

Matrix Fitness is currently based a mile-and-a-half-away in Howsell Road Industrial Estate.

In a letter accompanying his application when it was submitted in May, Mr Johnson said: “This plan proposes a full internal conversion of the site from its current state – dated and bare shell – into a modern, contemporary fitness facility that will immediately benefit the health and wellbeing of our existing members and in the future the lives of many people of Malvern and the surrounding areas residents.”

The council said last month the plan could not be approved until Mr Johnson showed the building had gathered no interest from potential buyers for at least a year.

The council had said it needed justification that allowing the gym would otherwise stop the building from remaining empty.