Hull gym's shock closure will affect 2,000 members and could mean job losses
MORE than 2,000 gym members have seen their new year fitness plans scuppered after a Hull gym announced it was to close.
Fitness First has confirmed its gym in Clough Road will close its doors for good on March 4.
At the time of the announcement, the branch in Clough Road had 2,226 members and nine staff.
Fitness First has said it is working with employees to try to find alterative work at nearby branches.
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The news prompted a flurry of comments on thisishull.co.uk from past and present members.
Caravanicki said: "As a member for about nine years, I will be really sad to see FF close.
"I appreciate that it was in need of some investment and updating, but it has always had a nice friendly atmosphere and some really good staff and free-lance instructors.
"Hope all the staff manage to get work and looking forward to the leaving do."
Nicholas83 said: "Feel sorry for the people who will be losing their jobs, but this gym has been going down the pan for a long, long time."
The closure forms part of Fitness First's restructuring, which was announced in July last year as the chain battled to reduce its mounting debt.
As part of the restructuring, the group agreed to a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) and a number of clubs throughout the UK were put up for sale, including the one in Hull.
A spokesman for Fitness First told the Mail the Hull branch had been earmarked for closure as early as last June.
This has bamboozled new members who signed up to Fitness First in January and were not warned they would have just weeks to work out there.
@xTolux tweeted: "Joined #fitnessfirst Hull yesterday – today they announced it will close March 4. Luckily in 'cooling off' cancel period."
However, the spokesman explained as part of the CVA, Fitness First had been working to try to "get the best deal" for the landlord of its Hull premises, with a view to keeping the venue operating as a fitness facility.
He said: "The reason we were still accepting new memberships is because we wanted the landlord to continue using the facility as a gym.
"At the time, Fitness First was hoping somebody would want to come in and take on the facility.
"Once Fitness First had committed to the closure of the gym, all staff and members were informed."
The opening of a new budget gym, Xercise4Less, also in Clough Road, has in part been blamed for the dwindling member numbers of Hull's Fitness First.
"Greeny", on thisishull.co.uk, said: "This will be because of that new gym that has just opened and the low prices they charge. It won't be the last gym to close."
In letters sent to members, bosses apologised to customers for "any inconvenience this closure may cause".
They added: "We're really sorry to inform you our Hull club is closing down at 3pm on March 4.
"It's with huge regret that we have to close the club and we really want to express our gratitude to all of the loyal members that have worked out with us over the years."