DIDCOT could soon be overrun with new gyms with three announcing their intention to open in the town in the coming months.

Major chains are eyeing up a space in the rapidly growing area to capitalise on the influx of new people brought in by huge new housing developments.

But cheap prices and 24/7 opening times could undercut the existing facilities, many of which are run by local councils.

And fears have already been raised about the potential for one site to lead to noise and disturbance.

Steve Connel, leader of the town council, said he felt the proliferation in gyms was a sign of the times.

He said: "There seems to be a real movement towards healthy lifestyles and the benefits it can bring.

"The market will decide whether we need so many, if this is what people want, then they will go."

The UK’s largest gym operator, PureGym, is the latest name to be linked to Didcot.

Documents submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council show the chain wants to open in the former Boots shop in Broadway.

This building has been vacant since the pharmacist moved into the Orchard Centre extension.

When asked, PureGym did not provide any further detail but the documents show its planned gym would be open 24 hours a day and comprise of a main area hosting treadmills and other equipment as well as a studio, free weights and activity zone and changing facilities.

The fast-growing company, who already operate across two sites in Oxford, specialise in low cost, no frills gyms with student discounts.

It comes as another chain, SnapFitness, finalises its plans to move into the Orchard Centre.

The American company was given permission to put up signs in November and Didcot is listed as ‘coming soon’ in the locations section of its website.

A third, as yet unnamed new gym, was given permission to set up in part of the Wilkinson store in Market Place.

This gym would have more limited opening hours, closing at 10pm most evenings.

The Co-Op Funeral Service had objected to the plan because of fears it may disrupt grieving families in its unit downstairs.

Mr Connel said he still felt confident the council's own Willowbrook Leisure Centre could compete with the new competition.

He said: "The reality is if you continue to do a good job at a fair rate, then most people will stay with what they are happy with.

"It is up to us to continue to provide a good service so people remain happy with what we are doing."