THE former Lochcarron knitwear mill will be transformed into a gym and fitness centre after council officers granted planning permission earlier this week.
Three years since production stopped at the mill, the Princes Street factory will soon play host to treadmills and weight machines.
Despite being for sale since 2009, there has been little interest from potential buyers in the vacant buildings and despite some concerns over increased noise and traffic nuisance for nearby residents, councillors gave their support to the proposals from Energie Scotland.
Hawick and Denholm councillor Alastair Cranston said the venture would encourage more people in the town to become active.
“We are always going on about encouraging as many people as possible to take part in sport and exercise and this project will help do that,” said Mr Cranston.
“The fact that this building is presently not doing anything and this project will also create employment is a huge plus.
“We’ve got six rugby clubs, five football clubs, judo, boxing, golf and three fitness clubs to name just some.
“Sport is a big issue in the town and I think this venture shows there is a need and demand in the town.”
Energie is one of the fastest-growing fitness club franchise businesses in the UK and, despite the presence of two other gyms in Hawick, says it is aiming at what it says is the middle ground between these two other existing fitness businesses, whilst establishing unique specialist facilities such as the youth gym.
The plan is to turn the bottom floor of the former main factory building into rooms for specialist classes, while the first floor will be used for a supervised soft play area and specialist classes. The upper floor, which was where the manufacturing was once done, will be converted into the gym and fitness hall, and an area for dance.