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Les Mills International
Les Mills International
Les Mills International
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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

News

Put health clubs at the heart of our high streets, says gym boss

The boss of the UK’s only listed gym chain has called on planning authorities to reconsider the role that gyms have to play in creating healthier and resurgent high streets.

The Gym Group CEO John Treharne told Health Club Management that fitness operators can bring huge benefits in terms of employment, footfall and health, at a time when many of the the country’s high street businesses are struggling to survive.

“It’s a slow process, but planning authorities should be considering the benefit to local people from more gyms on the high street,” said Treharne, who added that each Gym Group site brings around 20 jobs when you include personal trainers.

“The bulk of our members come from within five minutes of our sites and particularly where some high streets need regeneration, the fact that we drive high footfall to our sites brings added benefits to other businesses in the same location.”

Treharne’s comments reflect the sentiments of many health club operators, who have found that obtaining suitable properties is one of the biggest barriers to expansion. Site acquisition has been a perennial issue for operators – particularly in London – due to exorbitant property prices and cumbersome planning laws.

Under England’s planning use classes framework – which hasn’t been updated since 1987 – gyms and leisure centres can only occupy buildings designated under the ‘Class D2’ category, whereas shops retail outlets sit in the far more abundant ‘Class A1’ category of building.

One outspoken critic of planning laws has been Barry’s Bootcamp UK co-owner Sandy Macaskill, who believes England’s "outdated" town planning laws fail to take into account how fitness businesses have evolved since the 1980s towards a more service-focused offering similar to other A1-classed businesses, such as hairdressers.

“We’ve still got the major hurdle of planning committees frequently blocking applications to convert A1 spaces into fitness studios,” Macaskill told Health Club Management recently, revealing that his efforts to find a third London location for his boutique chain have been frustrated by council planning committees.

“It’s as if the 2012 Olympic legacy didn’t even happen – councils are telling everyone to be more active but then they don’t want to see fitness studios on the high street.”

“It’s definitely something that needs to be addressed,” Macaskill added. “We’ve won the landlords over in terms of the benefits that fitness businesses can offer. Now it’s time for the government to make good on its calls for us to do more exercise, by supporting the businesses trying to make this happen.”

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The boss of the UK’s only listed gym chain has called on planning authorities to reconsider the role that gyms have to play in creating healthier and resurgent high streets.
HAF,FIT,IND,PHR,PTS,LCT
THUMB7842_939387.jpg
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News

Put health clubs at the heart of our high streets, says gym boss

The boss of the UK’s only listed gym chain has called on planning authorities to reconsider the role that gyms have to play in creating healthier and resurgent high streets.

The Gym Group CEO John Treharne told Health Club Management that fitness operators can bring huge benefits in terms of employment, footfall and health, at a time when many of the the country’s high street businesses are struggling to survive.

“It’s a slow process, but planning authorities should be considering the benefit to local people from more gyms on the high street,” said Treharne, who added that each Gym Group site brings around 20 jobs when you include personal trainers.

“The bulk of our members come from within five minutes of our sites and particularly where some high streets need regeneration, the fact that we drive high footfall to our sites brings added benefits to other businesses in the same location.”

Treharne’s comments reflect the sentiments of many health club operators, who have found that obtaining suitable properties is one of the biggest barriers to expansion. Site acquisition has been a perennial issue for operators – particularly in London – due to exorbitant property prices and cumbersome planning laws.

Under England’s planning use classes framework – which hasn’t been updated since 1987 – gyms and leisure centres can only occupy buildings designated under the ‘Class D2’ category, whereas shops retail outlets sit in the far more abundant ‘Class A1’ category of building.

One outspoken critic of planning laws has been Barry’s Bootcamp UK co-owner Sandy Macaskill, who believes England’s "outdated" town planning laws fail to take into account how fitness businesses have evolved since the 1980s towards a more service-focused offering similar to other A1-classed businesses, such as hairdressers.

“We’ve still got the major hurdle of planning committees frequently blocking applications to convert A1 spaces into fitness studios,” Macaskill told Health Club Management recently, revealing that his efforts to find a third London location for his boutique chain have been frustrated by council planning committees.

“It’s as if the 2012 Olympic legacy didn’t even happen – councils are telling everyone to be more active but then they don’t want to see fitness studios on the high street.”

“It’s definitely something that needs to be addressed,” Macaskill added. “We’ve won the landlords over in terms of the benefits that fitness businesses can offer. Now it’s time for the government to make good on its calls for us to do more exercise, by supporting the businesses trying to make this happen.”

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
The boss of the UK’s only listed gym chain has called on planning authorities to reconsider the role that gyms have to play in creating healthier and resurgent high streets.
HAF,FIT,IND,PHR,PTS,LCT
THUMB7842_939387.jpg

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Les Mills
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HCM Magazine
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Digital meets personal with the new Virtual Player from FunXtion, experts in interactive fitness, which allows clubs to stream and schedule world class virtual classes anytime, providing an interactive workout experience on the gym floor, functional area or directly to members at home via an app.
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Featured operator news: Everyone Active bolsters Everyone on Demand and enters second year with five new partnerships
Everyone Active has signed a number of new deals which will see the operator strengthen its digital product offering, Everyone on Demand.
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Company profile: Premier Software Solutions Ltd
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Click on a catalogue to view it online
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Online,
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2021
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Diary dates
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Les Mills International
Les Mills International