Chain restaurant could form part of former BHS transformation
The BHS Scunthorpe store, which closed in 2016
By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 24 Aug 2017
A chain restaurant could form part of a transformation of the former BHS unit in Scunthorpe town centre, which has stood empty for more than a year.
And the news comes as detailed plans have been revealed for a £1 million refurbishment of Scunthorpe’s Central Library in what would be a double boost for the town centre.
Plans have been submitted by DS Properties to change the use of the second floor and part of the first floor of the former BHS unit, in the Parishes shopping centre, from retail to assembly and leisure.
Supporting documents say this will lead to these areas being converted into a gym, with proposals also in place to divide the ground floor into five retail units.
The plans say part of the first floor and all of the second floor would be occupied by a new branch of the Leeds-based Xercise4Less gym, earmarked to create up to 50 jobs.
But North Lincolnshire Council leader Rob Waltham has confirmed a “chain restaurant” also forms part of the overall vision to revive the unit, near the town’s Vue Cinema.
It is not yet known which restaurant is involved.
The final weekend of trading at BHS last year
Mr Waltham said the vision, if realised, would provide a further “welcome boost” after a £60 million package of investment in the town centre was announced by the authority last month.
He said: “We know the cinema brings a lot of people into the centre but it is about extending the time they are there.
“We have been working with the owners of the premises for some time on this, who were particularly keen to say that the reason the site had such potential is because of the £60 million planned investment in housing, offices and universities in the town.
“It will bring jobs and a positive boost to the night time economy.”
The building has stood empty since July last year after national retailer BHS went into administration and 40 people lost their jobs at the Scunthorpe branch.
However, the gym alone could create up to 50 jobs, with approximately that number of staff working at Xercise4Less branches across the UK.
The proposals have been welcomed by traders in the Parishes, which has been hit by the closure of several units in recent years.
Johnny Carroll, owner of Johnny Mac’s Restaurant and Bar, said: “If it is going to bring more customers to this part of town, then it is good.
“It is good for the town.”
And Marie Jotham, owner of Marie’s Little Cafe, said: “It will be good to have a gym. I might use it – it depends how much the fees are.
“It would make it a lot better. It is quite positive overall.”
Information submitted with the plans says Xercise4Less was set up in 2009 to provide “value-for-money, affordable gyms” and each of its 27 existing outlets has up to 400 pieces of equipment, large studios, spinning classes and ladies-only sections.
It is suggested that the gym would be open in Scunthorpe from 6am to 10pm on weekdays and 8am to 8pm at weekends and on holidays.