Town planning chiefs have recommended controversial plans to build a new gymnastics centre in the countryside are refused. 

Bracknell Town Council’s planning committee met to discuss Bracknell Gymnastics Club’s divisive proposal to add a 2,300 square metre gymnasium in a patch of open space in Easthampstead tonight (Tuesday, November 3). 

The plan would see the specialist site built just south of Downshire Golf Complex. 

IN FULL: Everything you need to know about controversial gymnasium plan 

But the proposal has hit a setback after town councillors voted to recommend refusal of the plan. 

Bracknell News:

This came after resident Paul Scott pointed out several reasons to throw out the idea, including the loss of open space in the town, the ‘urbanising effect’ the building would have, the harm it would have on local wildlife and habitats, and the loss of dozens of protected trees in the area. 

He also reminded town councillors of their commitments to protect local green spaces, and pointed out that almost 300 people have objected to the proposal.   

Mr Scott added: “On behalf of the local residents, please would you honour those town council statements and the statements of local opinion and resolve to oppose this application.”

READ MORE: Hundreds of objections and letters of support flood in for gymnasium plan

Despite widespread disapproval of the plan, another 326 people have written to Bracknell Forest Council in favour of the plan. 

However, more than half of those who have backed the designs are not from Bracknell Forest. 

Bracknell News:

Councillor Roger Meakes lent his support to the application too. 

He said: “This is not a gymnasium as we know gymnasiums. 

“It does not do keep-fit. It does not pander to children. 

“It is clearly a professional organisation and I want to dispel any misinterpretations the gym would not be better of somewhere else. 

“It certainly wouldn’t.”

But despite Cllr Meakes’ backing, the town council could not get behind the proposal after councillors voted two to one in favour of recommending the application be refused. 

Ian Kirke was one of the councillors who voted against the designs. 

He said: “I was mightily impressed by the application. I think it would provide a legacy for the borough. 

Bracknell News:

“However, the site contradicts the core principles of Bracknell Town Council in protecting our open space and parks.”

He later added: “Right application — wrong site.”

Cllr Michael Titheridge joined Cllr Kirke in voting against the plan on the basis of the countryside location of the site.  

Bracknell Town Council’s recommendation to refuse the application will now be considered by Bracknell Forest Council, which will have the final say on whether the gymnasium plan goes ahead.