Capital muscles in on first 24-hour gym over health and safety fears

The Capital’s first 24-hour gym has been threatened with closure after city council chiefs accused it of posing a “significant risk to public health and safety”.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 12th October 2011, 1:12 pm

Pure Gym, within the upmarket Quartermile development – on the site of the old Edinburgh Royal Infirmary – has been allowing people to use the gym overnight when it has no staff on duty.

Users are able to access the facilities by typing an eight-digit pin code into a keypad then entering using a pod that ensures that only one person at a time gains access.

Council licensing chiefs believe that allowing people to use heavy equipment at times when the gym is unstaffed is putting their safety at risk.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Councillors are being asked to consider refusing to extend the gym’s public entertainment licence – which would force it to close.

Bosses at Pure Gym insist their venues are safe and that safety alarms link them to the emergency services.

Martin Rich, licensing manager for the city council, said the gym is breaching one of the conditions of its licence, which states “there shall be sufficient staff on duty when the premises are open to the public”.

He said: “The reason for this condition is to protect both the health and public safety of the users of the gym.”

A city council spokeswoman said: “We are objecting to the application by Pure Gym Limited to renew their 24-hour licence on the basis that they are currently in breach of their licence conditions.

“The fact that no staff are currently on duty during night- time hours poses a significant risk to public health and safety, especially in an environment where people are using heavy equipment.”

Pure Gym opened its doors on Lauriston Place in December 2009 and was the first of the city’s gyms to introduce 24-hour opening hours. Earlier this year, it opened a second 24-hour outlet at the Ocean Terminal shopping centre.

With monthly membership rates at £16.99, it is able to undercut many of its competitors, including Edinburgh Leisure, which operates sports facilities for the city council.

Edinburgh Leisure says staff should always be on duty. Neil Brown, director of customer operations, said: “The interaction between professional and caring staff and valued customers is a vital part of the customer experience at Edinburgh Leisure and the health and wellbeing of everyone who uses our facilities is of paramount importance.”

Operations director of Pure Gym Jacques de Bruin said: “Each Pure Gym is continuously monitored via extensive CCTV coverage 24/7 with direct links to emergency services and also has assistance call buttons.

“In addition, outside the hours of when the gyms are staffed, we have ensured that all night cleaners have first aid qualifications in the case of an emergency.”