Sporting family claims new opening hours at Chatteris gym will stop them using facilities

Chatteris Leisure centre gym opening, Louis Smith cut the cake with help from Cllr Florence Newell.

Chatteris Leisure centre gym opening, Louis Smith cut the cake with help from Cllr Florence Newell. - Credit: Archant

A CHATTERIS dad says he is “completely dismayed” to discover that after waiting 20 years for a new gym in the town, his family will no longer be able to use the facility, after casual use is to be stopped in peak periods.

Nigel Titford says monthly membership for his wife Paula and sports mad daughters is too expensive, and his family “like the flexibility to attend when convenient” in their busy life.

Fenland District Council has decided that only pre-paid gym members can use facilities across the district after 4.30pm on weekdays, in a bid to encourage long term gym membership.

In a letter to Fenland District Council, Chatteris Leisure, and Chatteris Town Council , Mr Titford said: “I am writing in complete dismay of your plans to change the use of leisure facilities in Fenland.”

Regarding Chateris gym, which was opened by Olympic gymnast Louis Smith in October, he said: “Since it opened my wife has been a regular user, usually attending on a Monday night. Because she works and because we have two sports mad girls, she is unable to find the time to attend more frequently, although she did try a couple of the classes and enjoyed them.”

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Mr Titford’s wife attends the gym with their elder daughter Aimee. He complains that “stupid rules” have stopped their 12-year-old daughter Lauryn using the gym except at limited times, when she is already busy participating in football and netball.

Both daughters play county netball, and Mr Titford’s wife Paula manages a netball team.

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Mr Titford added: “We are exactly the sort of family that like and use leisure facilities, but time to go frequently is limited. If we are prohibited from using the facilities after 4.30pm we will no longer be able to, because a monthly membership is not cost effective.”

Fenland District Council leader, Councillor Alan Melton, said: “The changes that are proposed to come into action in April are as a result of listening to our customers. During peak evening periods, regular users have told us that gym equipment can be very busy and sometimes staff can be occupied with other customers and unable to assist them. This change will ensure that our regular users receive an improved service.”

He said supervised sessions are available for children aged 10-13 years, and youngsters over 14 can use a gym in a similar way to an adult user.

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