Moray Council has backed plans to transform a vacant building in the region’s biggest town into a gym that will be open around the clock.
Exercise firm Anytime Fitness has launched plans to prepare the unoccupied unit at the Elgin Retail Park on Edgar Road for opening in June.
They will run the venture on a 24-hour basis every day, and estimate it will bring eight new full-time jobs to the town.
During yesterday’s meeting of the local authority’s planning and regulatory services committee, members learned that the unit earmarked for development had lain empty since the retail park opened in 2007.
The authority’s principal planning officer, Angus Burnie, said: “Since the park was built, that unit has remained empty.
“Much of the alteration needed to accommodate its change of use from retail to leisure would be internal works.”
Anytime Fitness plans to run the gym on a 24-hour, seven-day basis – with members gaining entry by using a key when it is unstaffed.
Forres representative George Alexander queried whether this might create a health and safety risk.
But Mr Burnie assured him that the firm operates measures to ensure the safety of its clients at its existing Scottish premises in Glasgow and Edinburgh – and these would also be employed in Elgin.
Members were presented with a report outlining an anticipated increase in visitors to the retail park as a result of the new gym.
Anytime Fitness, which is US-owned and has its base in Minnesota, operates more than 3,000 gyms in 20 countries.