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Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson spoke last week at Sweat, ukactive’s boutique fitness event, calling for an urgent rethink of England’s “archaic” town planning laws.

The ukactive Chair and cross-bench peer wants to see a major overhaul of planning regulations to make it easier for fitness businesses to have a positive health impact on England’s unhealthy high streets, which she said are “drowning in a sea of betting shops, fried chicken joints and empty shop windows.”

Under England’s National Planning Policy Framework, gyms and leisure centres can only occupy buildings designated under the ‘Class D2’ category – whereas shops retail outlets sit in the far more abundant ‘Class A1’ category of building – leading many operators feeling ‘shut-out’ from the high street.

Baronesss Grey-Thompson was one of the keynote speakers at the ukactive Sweat conference, which brought together nearly 250 influencers, entrepreneurs and business owners from around the country for networking, lively discussion and insight on taking boutique businesses to the next level.