EMERGENCY workers can still benefit from their late-night workout after councillors unanimously sided with a gym owner on a debate with the planning officer.

Carlisle gym owner Daniel Tweddle spoke at the city council’s planning panel on Friday, asking members to remove a restriction on his business’ opening hours.

Mr Tweddle and business partner Dan Graham opened Strength Shack on Willowholme Industrial Estate in 2019, turning the former car showroom in unit 1, site 18 into a fully equipped gym.

But a condition was enforced on the planning application, restricting the gym to opening hours between 6am to 10pm.

Speaking at the city council’s planning panel, Mr Tweddle said that a number of key workers like police officers and ambulance drivers train at the gym and they may not be able to keep the same hours. He asked for a variation in the planning permission, allowing Strength Shack to run 24 hours.

He said: “Over 30 per cent of our members are from the NHS, police, ex-military. They use our facility to de-stress after a tough shift. People don’t just work six to 10 they work night shifts, they work days.”

“We think they should have an opportunity to go out and de-stress.”

Mr Tweddle pointed out that GPs are being proscribed physical exercise as a way to manage their stress and mental health.

“It’s been clinically proven that keeping fit is one of the best ways to reduce this.”

The case officer’s reason for imposing the operating hours restriction was to reduce the noise impact on nearby residents. He recommended that the six to 10 hours remain in place.

Councillors voted unanimously to approve Mr Tweddle’s application despite the recommendations of the planning officer.

Labour councillor for Cathedral and Castle ward Anne Glendinning said: “I’m not too sure about supporting the officer’s recommendation on this because I do actually think on an industrial estate, that yes there may be some residential properties near but they’re not that near and they seem to have a policy there, when it to 10 o’clock music is stopped, people use their headphones etc.

“And I think it’s quite right to point out how people’s shifts have changed, it’s not set patterns anymore and it’s very near the hospital.”

She pointed out that there are other gyms in the city operating 24 hours near residential areas including in her ward.

Conservative councillor Keith Meller pointed out that the other businesses on the industrial estate are not subject to a restriction on opening hours.

Independent councillor Raymond Tinnion said: “You’ve got trains going right outside which is probably closer than the building itself.

“This city promotes healthy living, healthy city living and I think we need to be promoting these sorts of places.

“The thing is we are probably sticking to a policy that’s there, but the policy is not set in stone, we can go against that policy.”