PLANS have been submitted for a gym and exercise studios to improve the leisure facilities at the Sutton Lane Playing Fields at Middlewich.

The proposal, from Cheshire East Council, includes refurbishing the existing changing room block and constructing a two-storey building to house a fitness suite and studio space together with key support facilities including office and staff room.

The Sutton Lane access would also be improved, as would the car park.

A design and access statement submitted by David Trowler Associates on behalf of Cheshire East Council, which owns the land, states the Sutton Lane site was identified as the most suitable for the new leisure facilities.

“It has historically been a strategic site for sport and recreation in Middlewich with four football pitches that were once occupied regularly,” states the report submitted with the planning application.

“Whilst there was an extensive historic usage of the site, it has declined in recent years to the extent that it did not have any formal use.

“In the past 12 months, some club usage has returned without the use of the changing pavilion as the services have been removed due to vandalism of the building.

“The re-provision of the changing rooms, included in the proposal, would support the user experience.”

Cheshire East states none of the planned development is on grassed areas currently used for sporting activities.

The report continues: “An allocation of S106 money has already been agreed to improve the pitches and a feasibility study has been commissioned to survey the existing playing fields and identify the improvements required.

“It is anticipated that these will include the installation of new drainage and replacement of the grass.

“The building and parking infrastructure proposed for the site are considered essential to both cater for the potential future demand anticipated for the whole site and to allow the site to become a managed leisure facility.”

The application, number 21/4531C, can be viewed on the planning portal on the Cheshire East website and the last date for submitting comments is November 4.

The application is expected to be considered by the council’s southern planning committee on November 24.