Tesco gym ‘significant' financial challenge to the Hudson  

Hudson leisure, Wisbech

Hudson leisure centre gym, Wisbech - Credit: Freedom Leisure

Price sensitive gym enthusiasts switching from the Hudson leisure centre to a privately run gym at Tesco are creating a ‘financial challenge’ says Fenland Council. 

The scale of the challenge is outlined in a report from Cllr Sam Clark, portfolio holder for health.  

She says the outlook for the four Fenland leisure centres owned by the council is “looking for more positive than initially expected”. 

But she says there is still some way to go before the contract with Freedom Leisure – who run them on behalf of the council – is running, financially, at pre-Covid values. 

“A significant component of the financial challenge is the price being charged by PureGym in Wisbech Tesco,” says Cllr Clark. 

“Reopening at an initial £9.99 / month, the price is now up to £19.99 / month.  

“This is a far more competitive price than Freedom can offer at the Hudson and is attracting price sensitive people from the town.” 

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She says the service offered at the Hudson is significantly different from that at PureGym.  

“PureGym offers a good gym space, limited classes and no instructor support (unless additional charges are paid),” she says. 

“This does appeal to many and is impacting on the Hudson’s ability to attract back members at the same rate as Freedom’s other facilities in Fenland.” 

Membership for the Hudson is advertised as from £34.50 a month but casual users can book most facilities at session rates.  

Fenland Council says it continues to support Freedom Leisure as the company continues to recover from the pandemic.  

“The council remains certain that the continued support offered by FDC to Freedom Leisure is the most financially beneficial approach for the council,” says Cllr Clark. 

Freedom Leisure says they are grateful to FDC for their financial support during the pandemic. 

They believe the company can get back to a “sustainable situation” for the remainder of their contract with the council. 

In January 2021, FDC and Freedom Leisure jointly applied for a grant from the National Leisure Recovery Fund (NLRF) to support the service.  

The application was successful and FDC was awarded £181,672 to cover some essential costs during the 20-21 lockdown period and to support the reactivation of the facilities and potential deficits from April 2021.