Plans lodged for new gym and fitness facility at community centre

The Thomas Gifford Trust has applied to West Oxfordshire District Council for permission to build a gym accessed through a new shared entrance at Charlbury Community Centre.

The community hub at the Spendlove Centre, which is owned and managed by the charitable trust, opened its doors in 2017 and is run on a not-for-profit basis by professional staff and volunteers.

It has a sports hall with a popular gym in a small studio, known as the Thomas Gifford room.

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But planning documents say the facility is competing with yoga, Pilates and other classes, wellbeing and therapy sessions, parent and baby/toddler groups, children’s parties and small functions, meetings and regular clubs.

Since the pandemic, an appointment system has been used and only four people can use the gym at any one time.

A design and access statement says: “A larger space would offer the opportunity to go back to a non-appointment system, allowing more people to use the facilities.

“A dedicated space would eliminate the need for staff to move the equipment twice every day. This is hard work for staff and leads to extra wear and tear on the equipment.

“It would also mean that a wider variety of equipment could be provided.”

The Trustees ran a consultation which showed demand for a gym which is open for longer, more regular, hours including early mornings and evenings.

The application says as well as improving health and wellbeing for residents, a local gym would also reduce car trips into Witney[2] and elsewhere, reducing emissions and demand on the road network.

It would be housed in a single-storey extension linked to the existing centre built in Cotswold stone with timber and aluminium sheet cladding.

Existing paving in front of the centre would be made good, and the existing stone planters will be planted with native species, including species known to provide foraging opportunities for birds and nectar sources for invertebrates.

The existing maple tree will remain and will be protected throughout the construction phase.

The existing outside lights would be reused and positioned sensitively to ensure the pedestrian routes are adequately lit without contravening the recommendations in the Ecological Impact Assessment.

The proposals “are sympathetic to the pattern of development” within the Spendlove Centre, documents say.

READ ALSO: Six cats injured and one killed in Oxfordshire attacks[3]

A design and access statement adds: “We believe the new extension will not cause any loss of or harm to any feature that makes a positive contribution to the special interest, character, or appearance of the Conservation Area.”

There would be no change to the pedestrian access and the existing cycle store is considered to have sufficient capacity to hold the extra bikes.

The extension would have a shower, changing facilities and lockers to encourage people to arrive by bike.

No additional car parking spaces are proposed as it is considered there are already enough to serve the new extension. 

This story was written by Miranda Norris[4], she joined the team in 2021 and covers news across Oxfordshire as well as news from Witney.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Miranda[email protected]. Or find her on Twitter: @Mirandajnorris

Profile: Miranda Norris Journalists news from the Oxford[5] Mail


  1. ^ READ ALSO: Bin lorry crash death victim named at Oxford inquest (
  2. ^ Witney (
  3. ^ READ ALSO: Six cats injured and one killed in Oxfordshire attacks (
  4. ^ Miranda Norris (
  5. ^ Oxford (

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