Plans to close the pay-as-you-go sauna, steam and jacuzzi room at Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre have come under fire from a customer who claims the centre has deliberately failed to advertise the facility.
Circadian Trust, which runs the centre on behalf of South Gloucestershire Council, is currently running a public consultation on its proposals, which would see the “under utilized” Rivers Health Suite sacrificed to enable an expansion of the centre’s Active Fitness gym.
Information on display in the café area of the centre explains:
“There is an immediate opportunity to improve the health and fitness offering at BSLC by remodelling the current facilities that are under utilized.”
“The Rivers Health Suite has shown a significant fall in attendance over the previous years and is now currently operating at a loss.”
Robin Tulloch, a regular user of the centre’s swimming pool since moving to Bradley Stoke ten months ago, says he only recently became aware of the sauna suite’s existence and is appalled at plans to axe it. He told The Journal:
“The sauna suite does not require membership of a club, and only costs a little more to use – including a swim – than the swim itself.”
“Isn’t this a public leisure centre? How about advertising the fact that it exists and that you do not need to be a member to use the facilities, which is very unusual.”
Mr Tulloch also spoke of another sauna user, a pensioner who travels twice a week from from Yate, who wouldn’t be able to afford to join a private health club with similar facilities, should the suite close.
Craig Smart, Operations Director at Circadian Trust, said the proposed remodelling is needed to meet the demands of customers. The centre’s Active Fitness gym currently has a ratio of 35 members to each piece of fitness equipment, well above the national average of 25:1.
The centre management’s reasoning found little sympathy with Mr Tulloch, who said:
“To exercise you do not need a running machine with a TV screen. There’s the whole of the Three Brooks Nature Reserve for running, but there aren’t any other cheap saunas about.”
The public consultation runs until Monday 5th November. If the centre decides to proceed with its plans, the Rivers Health Suite will close in mid-November. Refurbishment will take approximately ten weeks and the extended Active Fitness gym will open in early January.
More info: Gym Extension Proposal and Feedback Form [PDF, 499kB]
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