Plans for a gym and cinema in Leamington town centre have been dropped - and council told to expect House of Fraser to close this year

The basement gym could be replaced by retail units while the first-floor cinema space will now be devoted to offices

Plans for a gym and cinema in the redevelopment of the House of Fraser store in the centre of Leamington have been dropped.

Developers believe that the popular department store is expected to close on the town’s Parade this year and planners at Warwick District Council had approved a scheme that would have benefited film fans and gym-goers.

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The plans also included a range of offices and retail units spread across the four-storey building.

Warwick District Council has been told to expect the House of Fraser store to close this year.

But specialist planning and development consultants Quod requested to make a number of changes to the application on behalf of their clients COREM Investment Management – changes which have been agreed by district council planners.

Consultant James Beynon explained: “Since planning permission was granted in April 2019, there has been no demand for cinema or gym floorspace.

"There has, however, been genuine but limited interest in retail and office occupation, including the single occupation of first/second floors as office use.

“With House of Fraser anticipated to vacate in the second quarter of 2020, it is crucial that the meaningful reoccupation of the building at the earliest opportunity.”

The changes will see the basement gym replaced by retail units while the first-floor cinema space will now be devoted to offices.

Mr Beynon added: “The proposals seek to respond to current market demand.

"Without securing tenants, there is a significant risk that the building would remain vacant following the departure of House of Fraser.

In turn, this would have an adverse impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre in the long term.”

House of Fraser, then called Rackhams, opened its store in place of an Army & Navy branch in Leamington in 1976.