Tesco to build gym next to Sunderland superstore

Views of the new Tesco at Monkwearmouth (due to open summer 2013).

Views of the new Tesco at Monkwearmouth (due to open summer 2013).

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WHEN it comes to keeping fit, every little helps.

Supermarket giant Tesco has unveiled plans to build a gym as part of its new store on the former Sunderland Retail Park site at Monkwearmouth.

The firm has submitted an application to Sunderland City Council for full planning permission to change the use of 1,971 square metres of retail floorspace – a fifth of the total area – to leisure use in order to create the gym within the first-floor atrium of the Newcastle Road store.

Due to open in June, the new store will employ 300 staff.

As part of an agreement with the council, 120 employees will be people who have been out of work for six months or more.

Tesco corporate affairs manager Doug Wilson said the gym scheme would not have any impact on the number of jobs created. Tesco will not be running the gym itself, but already has an operator lined up.

“This development is a huge investment in the local area,” said Mr Wilson.

“We are proud the creation of local jobs and additional shopping choice will provide such a boost to Sunderland.

“We always look to deliver the best possible stores for our customers and are very pleased to have secured the interest of a gym operator for the store.

“Together with our store, the gym and the five additional shopping units will ensure this development acts as a significant retail anchor and leisure destination for the local area.”