Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Club revives fitness centre plan

MORE than 800 members of Phyllis Court Club in Henley support plans for a fitness centre

MORE than 800 members of Phyllis Court Club in Henley support plans for a fitness centre on the site.

The figure follows a survey that the private members’ club carried out earlier this year and is quoted in a newsletter sent to members this month.

According to the poll, which was conducted online and by post, supporters believe the scheme is important for securing the future of the club.

A total of 678 members said they would personally use the facility and might transfer their subscription from their existing gym.

The club off Phyllis Court Drive was given planning permission for a two-storey sports complex with a gym and swimming pool in September last year. However, the project was shelved a few months later after the club’s ruling council unanimously withdrew its support, claiming the development was financially unviable.

A working group was then set up to investigate the possibility of building a smaller “sports and fitness pavilion”.

This group carried out the survey and held six focus groups consisting of prospective members in the club’s target age bracket of 50 and over. The club says a fitness studio and gym were the most requested facilities among members and a swimming pool was considered a “must”.

The focus groups were also “overwhelmingly” in favour of a fitness centre. The club says they loved the environment and atmosphere of Phyllis Court but it did not offer enough to attract their membership.

Everyone in the groups said they would join if there was a swimming pool while 40 per cent would join with a more basic facility.

Many believed a new sports centre was needed following the closure of the LA Fitness gym and pool in  Newtown Road this summer. The club said: “While the club will always have a limited membership to  maintain an exclusive atmosphere, it is encouraging that the right offering could appeal to these potential  members.”

Barry Jackson, one of the club’s directors, said: “I may well not use the facilities myself but I recognise their importance as an incentive to new members and hope the working group can show it to be sustainable and affordable.”

Patricia Christmas, the club’s chairwoman, said the working group would present a detailed proposal to the club’s council within the next few months.

If the council approves it, it will then go to a vote among the wider membership.

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