A popular gym set up just under a year ago has requested retrospective planning permission so it can continue to empower women.

AbFabFit Club on Esgors Farm, Thornwood, specialises in ladies only fitness, with over 130 members attending weekly sessions from weightlifting to circuit training.

Founder Jaine Alderson and her husband Mark had been renting the space from neighbouring gym CrossFit Raeda for six months to host the fitness classes.

The couple hold regular charity events to encourage women to keep active and last Friday held a ‘Wear Red Day’ to collect money for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund raising around £140.

The fitness club is also planning ‘AbFabFit Off’ in honour of Sport Relief inviting friends and family to attend the friendly competition on 23 February.

“We are so adamant and passionate about what we do, the club supports the aims of the Epping Forest District Health and Wellbeing Strategy, especially helping people lead healthy, happy and active lives.” said Mrs Alderson.

Planning permission has been sought in retrospect so the couple can continue running the former retail unit as a gym.

They also plan to build an office space and expand some of the other internal facilities.

The application submitted to Epping Forest District Council reads: "AbFabFit Club is a small fitness club that provides mental and physical support for women and children in Epping, helping them to achieve a healthier lifestyle whilst boosting confidence.

“Taking account of all relevant policy considerations, it is clear to see that the proposed development is generally consistent with the Development Plan and therefore should be considered acceptable and sustainable development.