One of Anchorwood Bank’s empty units could become a new gym if a planning application is approved.

National chain PureGym is hoping to move into Unit 5 at the Barnstaple retail park, one of three units originally touted as restaurants.

An application to change the use of the space to include leisure is currently under consideration.

In the meantime PureGym has started advertising for a manager and assistant manager for a new Barnstaple gym, and its website says a gym in the town is 'coming soon'.

Andrew Pegg, managing director of Anchorwood Bank developer Wessex Investors, said: "We can confirm that we have made a planning application to change the use of one of our units to enable us to accommodate PureGym. We hope to hear back on this shortly.

"We are very excited to welcome another high profile brand to Anchorwood Bank and provide a new amenity for people in the area, and see this as further endorsement of the quality of Barnstaple as a centre."

However, the application to change the use of the building is being opposed by North Devon Council's parks, leisure and culture team, which said the new gym would be in direct competition with the new leisure centre proposed for North Devon.

A consultee response from the team said: "The council's parks, leisure and Culture team object to this proposal on the grounds of its competition and proximity to the proposed new Tarka Leisure Centre.

"We have recently carried out a Sport England compliant Assessment of Need and Opportunities Guide (ANOG) which considered supply and demand for sport and leisure facilities through a standardised assessment model.

"The new leisure centre has taken account of this assessment into its business model and will be providing the requisite number of stationed gym equipment. Creation of this gym will create an over provision."

If successful, the gym would be the first business to move into the three-unit building which has sat empty since its completion last summer.

The other two units were originally slated to become Frankie and Benny's and Chiquito. Both are being marketed to let by property company Montagu Evans.

Retailers Next, The Food Warehouse and DFS opened in the adjacent building in July and August. Tapi Carpets followed at the end of 2018.