CONTROVERSIAL plans for a 24-hour gym above a major Southampton supermarket are set to be approved.

The first floor above the Sainsbury’s store in Portswood Road could be turned into a gym run by Pure Gym.

The site had originally been earmarked for a community space, but according to a document published by Southampton City Council (SCC) it has never been occupied for community use.

Now it could be turned into a 24-hour gym and the opening hours of the Sainsbury’s car park could also be extended.

The plans have been submitted by Sainsbury’s and sparked a heated debated among residents.

Many of them objected to the scheme, fearing that the 24-hour use will set a precedent for other businesses in the area to apply for later closing hours.

Among the concerns raised there are also the potential loss of a community space and the impact the new facility would have on noise and traffic.

If the plans will be approved, the new gym will be open seven days a week and the nearby car park will open between 5am and11pm from Monday to Saturday and from 8am to 8pm on Sundays.

Planning bosses said the building has never been occupied for community use and it cannot be considered a valued community facility.

The proposal will be discussed at the meeting of the Planning and Rights of Way Panel on Tuesday.

In a document published ahead of the meeting planning bosses said the new gym would bring “significant positive socio-economic benefits to the local community and economy".