Leisure Centre roasted over sauna closure plan

Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre and Library.

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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  1. I have to agree with Robin. The advertising for the spa is terrible and I’m not surprised of the poor turn-over. When I was a member of the South Glos gym they never mentioned the existence of the spa; I only found out by asking another member.

    I left the gym after getting fed-up with how busy the place got during peak times and the lack of adult only swim sessions. I would often drive to Yate where the facilities are much better. I left to join Riverside which costs me the same per month and is never too busy to stop me using the equipment I want; plus the swimming pool/spa is quite good.

    I think expanding the gym is a good idea and will ultimately benefit more people than a under-used spa.

  2. Sir/Madam,

    I was astonished to read you intend to close the sauna centre at Bradley Stoke leisure centre.

    Just last weekend my niece and nephew visited from Winchester, and were delighted to see we had a sauna facility which can be used by the general public.

    And yes, were looking forward to utilizing this facility on future visits.
    Myself an ex paratrooper used to spend most of my waking hours engaged in some form of physical training when not at work. A horse riding accident ten years ago left my back ‘fragile’ to say the least, to the extent I changed my occupation and my training days a distant memory.

    A regular visitor to Austria, I used to admire in awe the local leisure centres complete with their health spas which were always included in the entrance fee. There use by the locals and guests was inspirational, and my face beamed at the luxurious feeling of well-being sat chatting to the locals in our ‘natural state’. A few more lengths of the pool, back in the sauna/Jacuzzi and a quiet time relaxing in the loungers with a good book “Happy days”.

    When our facility opened I was delighted. For once the general public had access to beautiful facilities without the need to join expensive health spas; which many cannot afford (myself included).

    How right Mr Tullochs comments are on the Bradley Stoke Journal web site. When working in London I lived close to Lewisham. An area without opulence, but with the mind set to put trim trails in the local park for people to train on; and how they were used come rain or shine.

    Yes I am not a fan of the gyms complete with TV screens/iPod wearing and yes, I even saw a lady reading a book on a stationary bike! Classes for circuits and so forth are advertised on large posters, and the promotion of the fitness area is pushed hard appealing to the twenty somethings who want to be seen to be in the right place.

    You are missing one massive opportunity with Rivers Health Suite. If as much effort was put into securing its future as its demise, you would see its resurrection.

    For people such as myself who still find frustration in our injuries, but can still enjoy a swim and sauna; we obviously do not matter. Bradley Stoke has a population across many age groups; we all do not wish to, or are physically able to partake of fitness facilities. Equal opportunities figures high in government work places, disabilities catered for and all needs addressed. A “Public Leisure Centre” encompasses many needs, not just those who are able. Which you are now clearly appealing to.

    I am sure that the many young Mothers and ‘young retired’, would extol the virtues of socialising in Rivers Health Suite; if you promoted its existence with as much vigour as you are promoting its death knell.

    Yours Faithfully,

    Christopher Hurford.

  3. It’s the end of the road for the sauna.

    On the Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre website today:

    “We are pleased to announce that work has now begun on our new gym expansion at Bradley Stoke to improve the fitness facility.”

    “Rivers Health Suite is now closed. The gym and its facilities are open and will operate as usual.”

    Read more …

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