Canvey gym may have to pay to use council-owned green space for bootcamps

Echo: Father and son David and Sam Rowe of Fitness 4 Life Father and son David and Sam Rowe of Fitness 4 Life

A FAMILY run gym faces paying £2,500 a year to use a public green space on Canvey for boot camp sessions that help the community get into shape.

David Rowe, 46, owner and manager of Fitness 4 Life, in Oak Road, is happy to cooperate with Castle Point Council and pay a fee, but cannot afford such a huge amount of cash on top of other costs such as business rates.

Mr Rowe runs a boot camp at Labworth Green, in Furtherwick Road, as part of the gym’s programme of activities.

His instructors only use it once a week in winter, but about three times a week in summer months so a £25 fee per session, as suggested by the council, would lead to a hefty bill.

He contacted the Echo after seeing a story about Southend Council proposing to charge similar businesses and instructors £150 a year to use its public parks.

He said: “We are respectful of the area, we always clear up afterwards and before we start we regularly clear the field of broken glass and dog mess.

“We don’t make a lot of money on the bootcamps once we’ve covered our costs. It’s such a crying shame, whatever you do there is always something in the way.

“I felt physically sick after reading the other story though, I wouldn’t have a problem paying £150.”

Mr Rowe set up the business three years ago after having life-saving heart surgery and wanted to get into the fitness industry to help others see that changes can be made to enjoy a healthier lifestyle.

The business has now expanded to carry out a doctor referral service and Mr Rowe added he has public liability insurance, his instructors are fully qualified and weekly risk assessments are carried out at the site.

He said: “Everything we do is above board.

“When we were contacted by the council I panicked, we can’t afford to pay that kind of money, but we could pay a fixed fee for the year.

“I don’t agree with it, but I’m a businessman and will work with the council.”

Mr Rowe said he has offered to pay £500 for the year, giving the council £125 per quarter, but he is not confident that will be agreed.

A Castle Point Council spokeswoman said: “Castle Point Council is in discussion with Fitness for Life concerning the use of council owned land.

“The council has yet to see evidence of the business’ public liability insurance. The council has indicated that we would be prepared to negotiate a fee for the use of our land and is waiting to hear from Fitness for Life with their proposal.”

Comments (9)

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6:54pm Tue 22 Jan 13

Nebs says...

How much do the Echo have to pay to use public spaces to take photographs of councillors for use in their newspaper?
How much do the Echo have to pay to use public spaces to take photographs of councillors for use in their newspaper? Nebs
  • Score: 0

8:23pm Tue 22 Jan 13

Sean4u says...

I can't wait 'til the word gets out that the councils are renting out public parks to low-footprint businesses. I shall enjoy watching the bootcampers going round and round while I eat my satay sticks, drink espresso, receive a massage and listen to the buskers. It'll be a regular festival!
I can't wait 'til the word gets out that the councils are renting out public parks to low-footprint businesses. I shall enjoy watching the bootcampers going round and round while I eat my satay sticks, drink espresso, receive a massage and listen to the buskers. It'll be a regular festival! Sean4u
  • Score: 0

9:34am Wed 23 Jan 13

Eric Whim says...

how much will dog walkers have to pay to go and empty their dogs in the park?

Just put up a ten foot high fence all round the park and install pay turnstiles at the entrance.....
how much will dog walkers have to pay to go and empty their dogs in the park? Just put up a ten foot high fence all round the park and install pay turnstiles at the entrance..... Eric Whim
  • Score: 0

9:53am Wed 23 Jan 13

HadleighBoy says...

I have a real issue with this idea of paying to use the facilties. Looking at it logically I am a council tax payer and I can go to the park or any public space and run up and down do press ups etc without paying a fee. Why should it be that if I choose to go and do this with a group of people and pay someone that I will in effect pay twice does not make any sense. I did think that perhaps there was a valid comparison to say football pitches but there is not really as for pitches you are paying for a specific piece of ground plus posts and markings.
I would say if this was put into operation that people should go and talk to schools with fields and agree a cheaper fee. Sure they would only be to pleased to help.
I have a real issue with this idea of paying to use the facilties. Looking at it logically I am a council tax payer and I can go to the park or any public space and run up and down do press ups etc without paying a fee. Why should it be that if I choose to go and do this with a group of people and pay someone that I will in effect pay twice does not make any sense. I did think that perhaps there was a valid comparison to say football pitches but there is not really as for pitches you are paying for a specific piece of ground plus posts and markings. I would say if this was put into operation that people should go and talk to schools with fields and agree a cheaper fee. Sure they would only be to pleased to help. HadleighBoy
  • Score: 0

9:57am Wed 23 Jan 13

Nickolish says...

How can the nation get fitter if obstacles like this are being applied to people who want to help others.
If the government wants the nation to get fitter, charging people to live a healthy lifestyle is not the way to go.
How can the nation get fitter if obstacles like this are being applied to people who want to help others. If the government wants the nation to get fitter, charging people to live a healthy lifestyle is not the way to go. Nickolish
  • Score: 0

10:07am Wed 23 Jan 13

upset says...

In my opinion you are all missing the point, this is a company that charges it's members to join and then uses facilities which are expressly for public use, paid for by the public. To cloud the issue by suggesting dog walkers or the like will have to pay is probably wrong, but there is a case to charge dog walkers so the sh1t that is left behind by quite a few uncaring owners can be removed by a council employee, who could double as a person who could also issue fines.
Football teams for as long as I can remember have paid to use the pitches and they are non profit making unlike the Gym, so why should they not pay?
In my opinion you are all missing the point, this is a company that charges it's members to join and then uses facilities which are expressly for public use, paid for by the public. To cloud the issue by suggesting dog walkers or the like will have to pay is probably wrong, but there is a case to charge dog walkers so the sh1t that is left behind by quite a few uncaring owners can be removed by a council employee, who could double as a person who could also issue fines. Football teams for as long as I can remember have paid to use the pitches and they are non profit making unlike the Gym, so why should they not pay? upset
  • Score: 0

1:47pm Wed 23 Jan 13

HadleighBoy says...

upset wrote:
In my opinion you are all missing the point, this is a company that charges it's members to join and then uses facilities which are expressly for public use, paid for by the public. To cloud the issue by suggesting dog walkers or the like will have to pay is probably wrong, but there is a case to charge dog walkers so the sh1t that is left behind by quite a few uncaring owners can be removed by a council employee, who could double as a person who could also issue fines. Football teams for as long as I can remember have paid to use the pitches and they are non profit making unlike the Gym, so why should they not pay?
But becasue they do not pay for the facilites they charge less and they are self employed. I go to a Boot Camp and the attendance is small so any inrease of costs would put them under and therefore they woud be claiming dole and I would be fatter!!
Also the provision of football pitches requires extra work, Post, lines etc.
[quote][p][bold]upset[/bold] wrote: In my opinion you are all missing the point, this is a company that charges it's members to join and then uses facilities which are expressly for public use, paid for by the public. To cloud the issue by suggesting dog walkers or the like will have to pay is probably wrong, but there is a case to charge dog walkers so the sh1t that is left behind by quite a few uncaring owners can be removed by a council employee, who could double as a person who could also issue fines. Football teams for as long as I can remember have paid to use the pitches and they are non profit making unlike the Gym, so why should they not pay?[/p][/quote]But becasue they do not pay for the facilites they charge less and they are self employed. I go to a Boot Camp and the attendance is small so any inrease of costs would put them under and therefore they woud be claiming dole and I would be fatter!! Also the provision of football pitches requires extra work, Post, lines etc. HadleighBoy
  • Score: 0

2:06pm Wed 23 Jan 13

sjreynolds143 says...

I've seen similar groups on the grassed areas at the top of Belton Hills alongside Marine Parade. Never got in anyone's way, and hardly spoil the view - unlike the footballers (Belfairs & Blenheim) who litter the ground with plastic drink bottles that they can't be bothered to clear up at the end of a match.

The real point, though, is that this is NOT "Council Land". It is Public Land, and so should be free to use for leisure activities.
I've seen similar groups on the grassed areas at the top of Belton Hills alongside Marine Parade. Never got in anyone's way, and hardly spoil the view - unlike the footballers (Belfairs & Blenheim) who litter the ground with plastic drink bottles that they can't be bothered to clear up at the end of a match. The real point, though, is that this is NOT "Council Land". It is Public Land, and so should be free to use for leisure activities. sjreynolds143
  • Score: 0

8:47pm Wed 23 Jan 13

bonytony says...

Go down on the beach when the tide is out, its washed twice a day so very little dog poo. They can't make a charge as they don't own it or maintain it.
Go down on the beach when the tide is out, its washed twice a day so very little dog poo. They can't make a charge as they don't own it or maintain it. bonytony
  • Score: 0

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