Almost 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for a thriving Perth gym to be saved from demolition.
Plans to flatten the Canal Street fitness centre Fit4less were made public earlier this month.
The private landlord already has planning permission to convert part of the building complex into six flats, but believes 12 homes could be squeezed in if the gym is razed.
Staff and service users responded by launching the petition, calling on Perth and Kinross Council’s planners to spare the centre which caters for a number of inclusion groups.
It has now been signed by more than 900 people, including fitness staff and many of the gym’s 1,200 local members.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the strength of feeling was a reflection of the business’s importance to so many people in the city.
The Perthshire North SNP MSP met management at the gym on Monday.
He said Perth had been dealt a series of blows recently, with news that a number of traders are shutting up shop, and that it was important to provide “good, compelling reasons for people to come into the city centre”.
Mr Swinney said: “This is a very valuable facility that clearly is providing an opportunity to people in the local community to be engaged in their own wellbeing. I’m doing everything I can to encourage the continuation of this facility.
“There are quite a few issues about the challenges raised with me and I’ll pursue those with the owners of the property and also with Perth and Kinross Council to see what we can do.
“One of the key points that came out of the meeting that Pete Wishart and I hosted in the city centre was finding different reasons for people to come into the city centre.
“This facility obviously provides part of that opportunity, giving people a reason to come into the city centre from which they might go shopping or get a coffee.”
Council planners are expected to make a decision on the housing proposals in the near future.