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Derelict Argos store in Sittingbourne High Street could become Hitio Gym

A European chain of fitness centres has chosen Sittingbourne for its very first UK branch.

Hitio Gym, which has 33 clubs in Norway and one in Portugal, is looking to expand into the old Argos, between the Wimpy and Lloyds Bank, in the high street.

Applicant, Majid Alamgir, wants Swale council to allow a change of use of the building from retail to leisure.

How the unit looks now in Sittingbourne High Street. Picture: Google
How the unit looks now in Sittingbourne High Street. Picture: Google

The store has been vacant since 2017, when Argos relocated to Sainsbury’s in the Avenue of Remembrance.

A statement in support of the application said: “Since the previous retail unit closed, the property has been actively marketed and this has not brought forward any interested retailers for the property.

“The applicant is an operator of Hitio Gyms UK, which is part of the Hitio International Gym organisation founded in Norway, and now engaged in a gym roll-out throughout the UK with 30 units planned in various locations over the next 12 months.

“The site, by virtue of its location, is hugely sustainable with good public transport links.”

Under the plans the old shop floor will be kitted out with gym equipment and the first floor will be converted from storage space to make it suitable for exercising with two activity rooms.

Four existing parking spaces to the rear will stay.

How the front of Hitio Gym could look. Picture: Hitio Gyms
How the front of Hitio Gym could look. Picture: Hitio Gyms

Changing and toilet facilities for men and women will be located on the top floor and most existing partitions will also be knocked down to make the space feel more open for members.

According to the firm’s website, the gyms can offer activities and classes including taekwondo, boxing, kickboxing, Thai boxing, mixed martial arts and yoga.

If planners approve the scheme, it would be the first of 30 gyms Hitio want to open across the country in the next year.

It will be open from 6.30am to 10pm Monday to Friday and 8am until 8pm on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays.

The firm hopes to employ four full-time staff and six part-time members.

To view and comment on the plans, click here and search for the reference 19/503325/FULL.

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