A 24-hour gym could be opening at a new Basingstoke retail park – but those living nearby are not happy about the idea.

The Gym Group has applied to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to change the use of Unit 3A at St Michael’s Retail Park, in Harrow Way, from retail to leisure.

The application states The Gym Group has “built a successful business model operating 24-hour health and fitness uses, and therefore has considerable experience in ensuring that their units operate efficiently and without disruption.”

The Gym Group has more than 130 venues operating across the country, including premises in Brighton, Portsmouth, Southampton, Bournemouth, Guildford and London.

It offers a health and fitness use which is aimed at a different market to the current offer typically within the area by providing low cost and flexible gym membership options.

On average 35 per cent of the group's members have not been to a gym before with the company attempting to provide its facilities to a much wider market.

The application states that the facility would not disrupt neighbours, stating: “The current application demonstrates that the 24-hour use of the unit is acceptable and would not result in any adverse impacts to the amenities of neighbours. Furthermore, this planning statement and accompanying transport statement demonstrates how the system to enter and exit the site would operate and would not cause vehicles queuing back onto the highway.”

However, a number of neighbours of the retail park have written to the council to object.

Chris Butcher, of The Harrow Way, said: “The idea is ridiculous and will impact negatively on the residents. We are already sick and tired of the huge increase in traffic, speeding traffic and the bright lights, caused by the tower sign which is on all night despite the conditions that it should only operate during trading hours.

“If planning permission is given for the 24-hour gym then we will have the lights on for 24 hours every night.”

Andy Konieczko submitted a petition to the council asking to place restrictions on the illuminated sign outside the retail park for when it is switched on, changing the current conditions which state it can be illuminated during the hours of business.

He said: “One of the consequences of the change of use application will be to give the retail park the right to keep the signs switched on 24 hours a day, in line with the gym’s proposed operating hours.”

Councillor Ron Hussey, ward member for Grove, has been acting on behalf of the residents to have the illuminated sign switched off at night, and pointed out other concerns regarding the gym, including vehicles being able to access the car park 24 hours and car headlights shining into nearby houses.

He met with the applicant for the new gym who has promised to look into the concerns prior to the application being discussed and decided by the council’s development control committee.

The Gym Group did not respond to The Gazette’s request for a comment on the residents’ concerns.