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Places for People Leisure leads charge of local authority operators into budget sector

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Places for People Leisure (PfPL) is scaling up its presence in the budget gym sector with the launch of its Places Gym in Corby.

Places Gym is the leisure operator’s low cost brand and the new site follows the launch of the debut Places facility in Sheffield, which was a refurbishment of a former Sam Jones gym.

Local authority health club operators have come under pressure in recent years as the explosion of budget gyms in the UK has led some members to jump ship in search of lower membership fees. In response, local authority operators such as Impulse Leisure, Inverclyde Leisure and Places for People Leisure have started to launch their own budget gym brands.

One of the advantages that some local authority leisure operators hold over privately-owned budget gyms is that their social enterprise status exempts them from VAT, enabling them to operate small margin gyms in markets that wouldn’t be financially viable for private companies.

“Our goal here at Places for People is to get people exercising more and people active more often,” said Rich Millard, PfPL partnerships director.

“Through our involvement in the budget gym sector, we have the ability to enter into slightly smaller markets than would be attractive to the big brand names, therefore offering affordable fitness to new communities.”

The new Places Gym in Corby provides members with more than 100 stations to accommodate their exercise needs. The 10,000sq ft (929sq m) club features Precor CV equipment, Matrix resistance equipment, Vplates and a substantial free weights area.

“This is a very exciting time for the Places group to be expanding into the budget gym sector,” added PfPL chief executive Sandra Dodd.

“We’re really keen to offer an alternative to the traditional leisure centre facilities that we currently provide and also ensure that we can keep our membership costs down by cutting back on the non-essential items.”

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Places for People Leisure (PfPL) is scaling up its presence in the budget gym sector with the launch of its Places Gym in Corby.
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The new Places Gym in Corby provides members with more than 100 stations to accommodate their exercise needs
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