Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Gym shuts to make way for care home

A HENLEY gym is to close because the landlord wants to turn it into a care home.

A HENLEY gym is to close because the landlord wants to turn it into a care home.

LA Fitness, in Newtown Road, announced on Friday that it would shut August 14.

In a letter to members, the company said it was ?deeply sorry? for the closure and had tried in vain to negotiate a deal with the landlord.

The letter, written by chief executive Martin Long, said: ?We do this with a heavy heart but the landlord has served notice on us and has asked us to vacate the building.

?We have been trying hard to negotiate our lease and remain within the building. However, the landlord has plans to redevelop the entire site into a care home, including the land which the club resides on.

?We have been working tirelessly to resolve this but we have no option but to now concede defeat and we must close the club.

?It is disappointing that such a long standing, vibrant and great club should have to close in this way and I would like to personally thank you for your support of the club over the years.?

Members will have to pay only half their monthly fee for August. They have been offered the chance to transfer their membership to LA Fitness gym in Burnham, Buckinghamshire.

Oscar Cox, a personal trainer at the gym, said: ?I found out on Friday with everyone else and I don?t really think there?s anything more that could have been done.

?The members are going to struggle to find another place to work out. I?m leaving in two weeks for another gym and I?ll take my clients with me but for people in Henley it will be hard.

?I?ve spoken to quite a few members and they are sad to see it closing. Most of them had no idea it was closing until they received the email.?

Michelle Thomas, of Belle Vue Road, Henley, said children who have been learning to swim at Amateur Swimming Association classes at the gym?s pool will be among those to suffer.

Her daughter, Eleanor Horsley, six, goes to one of the classes.

Mrs Thomas said: ?It has been running for two or three years now. At the leisure centre there is a waiting list on all their classes and they haven?t suggested anywhere else we can go. There are eight people in Eleanor?s class alone, where will they all go?

?Maybe we need to start a campaign and get councillors behind us because the community can?t afford to lose a place like this. People of all ages do their exercise there and it?s always busy ? it?s an important part of people?s lives. ?There?s nowhere else in Henley like it. The leisure centre isn?t really a walkable distance but L A Fitness is.?

Last month the site of Heney Youth Centre in Deanfield Avenue was sold to a care home company for £3million.

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