A large new retail space could be opened at the top of the Bentall Centre to replace the former Virgin Active gym.

The shopping complex has applied to Kingston Council for permission to change two floors on the west side of the centre from leisure use to retail.

The Virgin Active gym closed in December due to declining membership, increased competition and the acquisition of the Esporta gym above Sainsbury’s in Sury Basin.

In its application to Kingston Council, centre bosses said a gym facility is no longer compatible with a shopping centre “in as much as visits to the two locations are separate and distinct”.

Instead the space on the third floor would be converted into a new retail unit, with storage space on the floor above.

A consultation has been opened and interested parties have until March 14 to respond.