Gym fee hike defended

THE chief executive of the trust responsible for running Exmouth s publically-funded sports and tennis centres has defended what effectively amounts to a hike in gym fees.

THE chief executive of the trust responsible for running Exmouth's publically-funded sports and tennis centres has defended what effectively amounts to a hike in gym fees.

Leisure East Devon, the charitable trust which manages sports and leisure facilities on behalf of East Devon District Council, has stopped the cheaper off-peak gym tariff.

For years gym users could use their facilities throughout East Devon up to 4pm on a week day and weekends for a cheaper rate than the busier peak times during weekday evenings.

But one gym regular said it would put people off trying to get in shape: "In this time of economic recession as well as LED reporting increased membership, why do they feel the need to increase fees?

"When people are encouraged to get exercise and keep fit to maintain health, many will have to think twice about using the gym when fees continue to rise."

David Pagett, Chief Executive of Leisure East Devon said: "LED is committed to making its facilities as accessible as possible for people of all ages. We are also dedicated to encouraging people to stay healthy though regular, frequent exercise and activity.

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"The price increase to which the customer refers has resulted from the removal of the gym off-peak rate, which previously was available only at certain times of the day. "There is now one standard charge for gym use, which applies at all times.

"Although we have removed this off-peak rate at our gyms, we have substantially reduced the prices of our Gold memberships, which already offer some very real savings for people who use the facilities on a regular basis."

The Gold memberships provide unlimited use of gyms, swimming pools and exercise classes across all LED centres and he added that they have also slashed a fifth off the price for senior citizens and students on swim memberships.

"We appreciate that monthly fees might not be everyone's preferred payment option, but our inclusive packages are intended to offer exceptional value for our local customers.

"Nevertheless, LED staff at our centres will always be happy to chat with each customer to work out the best value for money option based on individual needs and usage of the facilities.

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