Wednesday, 02 December 2020

Club revives plan for fitness centre

PLANS for a new fitness centre at Phyllis Court Club in Henley have been scaled back,

PLANS for a new fitness centre at Phyllis Court Club in Henley have been scaled back,

writes David White.

The private members’ 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.

Earlier this year the estimated £4million project was shelved but it has now been resurrected on a smaller scale.

Club chairwoman Patricia Christmas said: “It’s a much smaller version of the one we have got permission for and won’t cost four million, that’s for sure. The old one was getting extremely large and expensive to build and if it’s extremely large, the running costs are high too.”

Under the old plans there were two studios but only one will be included in the new scheme and the gym will be a third of the size of the one previously planned.

The project would be split into two phases, with the first including a studio for yoga and pilates, a gym, changing rooms and treatment rooms. The second would see a swimming pool and jacuzzi provided.

Mrs Christmas said: “We want a quality facility but it wasn’t necessary to have something quite so large or grand.

“We’re looking to attract members  and we think this is going to be the one thing that’s going to tip the balance about whether they come to Phyllis Court or not.”

The club is putting together a brief to establish build and running costs and is expected to seek designs from at least three architects. A new version of the plans will then go to members in the new year and a vote will be taken.

Mrs Christmas added: “If members vote ‘yes’ we would like to build it all in one go. We have got a working group of very talented members who cover all aspects of the design build.”

At a meeting to update members on Thursday last week former town councillor David Silvester called for tennis facilities to be improved and for tennis and squash to be the club’s “primary draw”.

It currently has four tennis courts but Mr Silvester said he would like there to be eight and a clubhouse as well as a tennis and squash pro shop and an assistant for coach Richard Knight.

Mrs Christmas said: “Mr Silvester obviously is interested in tennis because he’s an ex-Lawn Tennis Association person. Obviously, we want to give good facilities to all our interest groups but Phyllis Court is a private members’ club, not a tennis club or a rowing club. It’s Phyllis Court and people join for everything it can offer, which is unique and substantial.”

In January the club’s ruling council withdrew its support for the fitness centre project, saying it was not viable.

But last month the

Henley Standard
reported that more than 800 members wanted a fitness centre following a surevy conducted online and by post. A total of 678 members said they would personally use the facility and might transfer their subscription from their existing gym.

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

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