A PLANNING application seeking permission to turn the former WH Smith store into a gym has been approved.

WH Smith on Church Street closed its doors in 2014.

Since then the site has been empty and been an eyesore on the busy town centre street.

However plans were submitted during the summer to turn the ground floor of the two storey store and the neighbouring former Bella Italia store into a gym with flats above.

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A design and access statement document in the plans said: "The building comprises a substantial two story building but has an external appearance to the front of a multi floor building.

"Full planning permission has been granted to include nine flats to the first and second floor which are accessed from the rear of the property. As part of the approved planning application, external and internal of the building are undergoing substantial refurbishment works which are currently underway.

"On the ground floor, the building was previously split into two separate retail units with a shop use, but have since had approval to be combined into one unit.

"The ground floor has been vacant for a number of years highlighting the current A1 class is not viable.

"To the rear is a marked out car park designated bin storage area and space for loading and unloading delivery vehicles

"The proposal is to change the use of the ground floor from A1 to D2 to provide a new gymnasium.

"There are no internal or external alterations as part of this application outside of those which have already gained full planning consent."