If you want to operate a leisure or fitness business in our area, where do you locate? If it’s an open air activity, you can probably do it in the green belt. But if you need an actual building, you might not get planning permission in the green belt. In fact a lot of leisure businesses are located on industrial estates. That can work, but it reduces the amount of buildings available for industrial companies. And sometimes a particular industrial state is not suitable for what you want to do.
A recent example was a planning application at the Imperial Park Estate, on Rawreth Lane, Rayleigh for a “Change Use Of Premises To Provide Swim School Business”. This was refused by the district council. The first reason was that the industrial estate should be protected for industrial use and the proposed use didn’t fit well with the other existing ones. The second reason was that there wasn’t any dedicated parking nearby , which is very significant when you think about lorry movements, no pavements and that the target age range is 0-10 years . In fact the managementof the industrial estate summed things up very well when they wrote to the council saying:
The applicant has now appealed against the decision.
So this kind of business can’t go in the Green Belt , can’t go on an industrial estate and won’t go into an existing residential area because a) it might affect neighbouring homes and b) land prices would be too high. There is one other possibility – newly-created residential areas. Big developers could fairly easily provide land for businesses like this, that provide an amenity to the public but probably can’t afford high rents. The trick is in getting the developer to do this… but if any town planner, Countryside executive or small business owner is reading this…