Jumping Through Hoops: How to Obtain Approval for Your Indoor Sport and Recreation Facility

Gyms are one of the top uses we see being issued show cause notices by local Councils and if you aren’t aware of the local planning regulations, you might be in for a bumpy ride with your new facility.

Why? Well, it turns out some people don’t like to listen to others getting fit or having a good time.

Council’s generally only move to issuing warnings and notices on a businesses AFTER receiving a complaint from the public. Complaints tend to be centred around amplified music, heavy weights dropping and people running around the block outside the facility.

You can protect your business by ensuring you have the correct use permits from the town planning department. In some locations this might be simple, however in most ‘zones’ of your city plan you will need to lodge a development application.

As a business owner, you cannot assume that the landlord or an existing gym use has the correct permits.

JREY offers pre-lease checks and more information via the learning hub on JREY.au

Brisbane Indoor Sport and Recreation

Indoor sport and recreation covers a number of business types and is formally defined in the City Plan as “the use of premises for a leisure, sport or recreation activity conducted wholly or mainly indoors”. Examples include an amusement parlour, bowling alley, gymnasium, squash courts, enclosed tennis courts, or dance studio. Generally, if you are not proposing an increase to the Gross Floor Area, this use would be Accepted Development under the City Plan and would not require a Development Application within the following zones:
  • Neighbourhood centre zone
  • District centre zone
  • Major centre zone
  • Principal centre zone
  • Mixed use zone
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This is subject to any other overlays or development assessment triggers which may affect your specific site. Code Assessable (development application required) under the following zones:
  • Community facilities zone
Impact assessable (subject to public notification) in all other zones, including any of the industrial zones.   Locating the development within an industrial site will be a longer more costly process. The Brisbane Industrial Strategy identifies that industrial sites are becoming scarce across the city. The strategy aims to achieve the following:
  • protecting existing industrial land and maximising its efficient use
  • encouraging industry to locate (or stay) in the right places by making development easier to do when it is an appropriate distance from houses and other non-industrial uses
  • encouraging increased hours of operation for industry to match its location and impacts in order to make the most efficient use of land, infrastructure and equipment
  • providing greater flexibility to support the ongoing evolution and advancement of contemporary industry while continuing to manage impacts
  • enhancing Brisbane’s industrial precincts to meet evolving industrial demand, facilitate business and infrastructure investment, and improve services needed to attract a skilled workforce.
  In general, Council has supported Indoor Sports and Recreation uses within the industrial zones in the past. However, they are typically granted a “temporary use” clause which only allows them to operate for a period of 3-5 years. Any application would need to demonstrate that there is adequate parking to cater for the use, as well as ensure there are no reverse amenity issues. For example, if the site is located next to a paint mixing plant, there is likely to be concern around noise and emissions, as opposed to being located next to a small-scale warehouse.
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The path of least resistance is to locate a site within any of the Centre zone or the mixed use zone.   Please note that the above information is current as of 2 February 2021, however, it does not replace the need for private town planning advice specific to your project. If you require town planning advice, reach out to the JREY team and request a Preliminary Planning Review [PPR].