An Andover trainer is among those due to launch a ‘world first’ gym in September as building work continues.

Southern Quarter, currently under construction in Amesbury, is a purpose designed facility which will provide cross training, weight lifting, power lifting and jujitsu training. Andover trainer Craig Spicer is set to relocate his weightlifting business to the site, which has a floor made from a newly-developed material, known as concretene.

Owen Toms, who is leading the project, said the site was unique in the world. He said: “There is no place in the world quite like it.

“I think nowadays people want a better training facility. It’s something people have in other countries around the world like the States, and I think we lack that in this country at the moment. Now, I feel like people don’t mind spending a little bit more for this bespoke service. It’s exciting.”

Owen put together the project with an old school friend, Robin Hibberd, after deciding to open his own business.

“My passion has been crossfit training and working out, and I wanted my own business,” he said. “It’s always a dream of mine to open my own gym one day.”

Using Robin’s experience in construction, they purchased land at Solstice Park in Amesbury, and set about designing a bespoke facility for training. The pair decided that they wanted to set apart their business from the rest.

“While designing it, we thought we should be innovative so we shaped it to look quite impactual as a design in anthracite grey,” Owen said. We’ve got the whole roof covered in solar panels so we can heat our own water, and we have an air source heat pump.”

This extends to the construction of the building itself, which has a concretene floor. A mix of concrete and one of the world’s strongest substances, graphene, it was developed through one of Robin’s companies alongside the University of Manchester. By using this for the foundations of the site, no steel has to be used for the building, reducing costs and carbon emissions significantly.

“It’s an eco thing,” Owen said, “so we think once we can prove this concept that we believe we can become the world’s first carbon negative training facility of its type.”

The gym is scheduled for completion in the middle of next month, with fitting out to take place soon after. Owen hopes to appeal to the veteran community, as a parachute regiment veteran himself, but also wants to open his business to all.

“We’re a veteran brand with a big veteran community, and want to fly the flag for them,” he said, “but we want to be open to everyone. We’re going to have a large shop upstairs with a coffee shop and healthy food, so even if people aren’t interested in training they can come in and experience the venue, but we hope a lot of our members will use the facility as well.

“We’re going to run events and competitions so we want to be a bit of a lifestyle hub.”

Owen says that the uptake on memberships has been good so far, though admits getting people to sign up ahead of time is difficult.

“We’ve gone the hard way about it in a way as before we’ve got a product we’re trying to sell it, which is the trickiest way to do it,” he said. “We could have built it all up first but then you’ll be waiting which doesn’t work for us. We want people through the door once we’re open.”

To encourage people to sign up, the business is offering lifetime discounts on memberships brought before opening, as well as intending to put a cap on the maximum number of members at the site. However, for those worried they might miss out, there are plans to expand the business elsewhere.

“It’s hard for people to imagine it as a gym at the moment but as we start to fit it out then I think we will see even more people signing up,” Owen said. “If this works, then we’re looking to build other ones in the area and build more of these sites.”

Work continues to finish the build, with Southern Quarter’s opening due on September 1.