A FORMER fabric store that has been closed for years will reopen under new management as a contemporary pilates and fitness studio.

The neglected space on number 21 Wallingford Street in Wantage was transformed to house 27-year-old sports therapist and pilates instructor Rachael Robb's 'dream' business.

Following a career as a 'reformer' pilates teacher at Hertfordshire's biggest fitness group, the Wantage born and raised moved back in the area to open Pilates Playroom.

The young entrepreneur is the first tenant to be handed over the keys to one of the two adjacent retail premises in the development, which was rebuilt following the demolition of Blanshard's Fabrics in 2011.

The two retail spaces that previously housed the crafts shop and an electrical suppliers have been empty since Vanderbilt Homes took charge of the building.

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The instructor explained that this style of pilates performed on specialist equipment helps stretch the spine, joints and muscles, which in turn is supposed to lead to improved flexibility, core strength, stamina and a balanced posture.

Ms Robb added: "It is for literally each and every body regardless of age, gender, fitness levels and rehabilitation needs.

“One of the benefits of Reformer Pilates is that the in-built tension on the reformer ‘beds’ can be adjusted to provide the resistance appropriate for an individual’s ability and needs.

"With just one class a week, I have seen what can be achieved in both fitness, body shape and confidence by clients of all ages and abilities.

Oxford Mail:

"I cannot wait to inspire and motivate my new clients from Wantage and The Vale, and to help them to discover and take control of their capabilities and then to push beyond them."

Pilates Playroom is set to offer three signature classes – 'Rehab', 'Osteoporosis’ and ‘All Fitness’ – practised by her mother Carly Robb, 60, her grandmother Rosemary Jenks, 87, and herself (pictured).

There are currently six reformer beds with some additional pilates-focused equipment, however, the owner said she plans to add more amenities and hire staff in the second half of the year.

The studio will officially open for classes on Tuesday and for the first month there will be a limited number of free introductory ‘taster sessions’ for residents unfamiliar with reformer pilates.

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This is the second business to introduce reformer pilates to residents in the area.

Wantage Pilates was the first local studio to open doors back in February 2011.

Based at KA Fitness on Grove Street, it also offers similar workouts.

While reformer pilates may seem like a new concept developed in a modern luxurious studio in London, it originated from an Internment camp on the Isle of Man at the end of World War One to help build long, lean muscles, increase flexibility, strength and endurance.

A century later and global stars including Adele, Meghan Markle, David Beckham, Andy Murray and Margot Robbie are known as devotees of the style.

Ms Robb promised that the first 50 members to sign up will also receive a 20 per cent discount on their first month’s membership.

For more information on the studio and prices visit Pilates Playroom website www.pilatesplayroom.com