Now, this isn’t in my ward but of course many Brentwood West residents will be members, two of my friends included who have used the gym extensively over the last couple of years and are quite upset to find it will go.
You might also be interested to know that this is just two minutes from my front door and, therefore, I am concerned about the parking in the local area.
But, as it is not my ward, I thought it best I share the words of Cllr Jill Hubbard, Lib Dem councillor for Warley who has done a sterling job and manage to get a stay of closure:
You’ve received this e-mail because you’ve previously contacted me about the take-over of LA Fitness by Pure Gym. This is just a quick update.I have visited and spoken to Ray, the manager of LA Fitness and on the face of it, as you know, nothing much can be done, as this is a business move which as local authority BBc has no influence over.However, I understand that the Brenwood branch of LAF has been one of the most profitable for them although the brand overall has lost money.Many people have E-mailed the CEO of Pure Gym to try and persuade him to keep the gym as it is but that’s not their business model. Unfortunately some of these e-mails have been quite aggressive & abusive but one long-term member has had several telephone conversations with the CEO who sounds like a reasonable guy. He has said he would be open to another franchise purchasing the club from Pure Gym in light of the strength of local feeling. He would be open to a reasonable offer and has agreed to stay the start of the work for four weeks. Another option would be that members purchase the club but that would be quite complicated and involve far more of the responsibility of day to day running, upkeep & staff salaries. If there are any members used to running businesses who’d be prepared to take this on then that may be a way forward but currently the one valiant member is e-mailing/ writing phoning other health Clubs to see if he can drum up interest from them.The CEO said between £1million – £2 million butt hat is far more than the premises is worth as it stands and it’s doubtful the business could realistically be valued at that price.Another aspect I’m looking into is who is the landlord (BBC?) of the building, as apparently he (or that body) has been reluctant to agree to any internal changes in the past. Pure Gym plan to practically gut the internal fabric so this may also be a lever we have.Advice I’ve received from the Planning Department is copied below. My questions have been answered in blue:1. Is Planning aware of the proposed changes and does Pure Gym need planning permission for any of their proposed works and/or changes to capacity and/or all day operation?· Response: Council records indicate that the opening hours are restricted to 6.30-22.00 (Mon-Fri) and 9.00-22.00 (weekends and holidays). If the hours are to change then the owners will need to submit a planning application to vary these times.· The works that you have described are internal and provided there is no material change of use away from the gym, increasing the number of users does not require planning permission.2. Given that Pure Gym intends to increase the membership significantly and may well operate 24/7, there are likely to be significant parking problems in the area and possible late night disturbances affecting residents. What can the Council do to anticipate such problems and ensure that Pure Gym isn’t trying to expand beyond the capacity of the adjacent car park and streets? Should residents be consulted for such changes?· Response: From a planning perspective, there is no restriction on the number of members but presumably for safety reasons there is a finite number of users that can use the gym at any one time; providing 24/7 opening hours does not necessarily result in the need to expand the capacity of the car park, it may even spread the number of vehicle movements across a longer period of time resulting in fewer vehicle movements between the current opening hours. If an application is submitted to vary the opening hours application is where an objective assessment can be made on the car park capacity and travel /parking arrangements.