The City of Sydney has postponed a decision on whether to approve a new Fitness First gym in Darlinghurst due to community concerns.

At a planning development meeting on Monday night, local business owners complained that the proposed gym did not have any provision for customer parking. They feared this would force gym-goers to park on the street, impacting upon businesses in the area.

The postponement came after council officers this week recommended approving the development application by Fitness First to open a gym on the second floor of Oxford Square, 55-73 Oxford Street, under the Monument apartment building.

The council report said parking would not be an issue as the gym would cater to local residents and CBD workers who would walk there or use public transport.

But the Darlinghurst Business Partnership’s Robert Tait, owner of the Pop Shop on Oxford Street, disagreed. He said the recommendation to approve the DA was a disgrace, purely on the grounds of parking.

If you’re having a very large gym with no provision for parking you’re going to be taking parking spaces from other businesses, Tait told Sydney Star Observer.

As a result of the Oxford Street upgrade we’ve lost parking on the street and in nearby streets, and the DBP has ascertained this is one of the biggest hurdles in getting people back to the strip.

Councillors asked the council officers to provide more information on the DA and would make a decision next week, a City spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Fitness First Australia said they would not comment until council had made its decision.

Community members were also concerned about the impact Fitness First would have on Gold’s Gym, which is located on Pelican Street opposite the proposed site of the new gym.

Gold’s Gym has shown they’re really committed to the community and they give a lot back, Tait said.

We have to fight to save the key elements of our community, and gyms have always played an important part in the gay and inner city community. Gold’s certainly fulfils that role.

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