Row Over Renovations At Virgin Chiswick Park
Members are furious that some facilities are closed over summer
Members of the Virgin Active gym in Chiswick Park have clashed with the management over the suspension of some of the facilities during refurbishment work at the club which will go on over the summer.
From this weekend they will not be able to use the swimming pool, sauna or steam room and they are angry that the club management has not offered them any compensation or reduced fees for the lack of facilities.
One aggrieved member, Christian Ward, has turned to social media to bring members together on the issue and has set up a Facebook and Twitter account.
He says some members have threatened to leave altogether and feel it is "the last straw" as building works have been going on for several months. Chiswick Park which has some of the top companies in the world including QVC, Starbucks, Disney and Aker Solutions. It has a workforce of 6,000 and most of the club's members are employees in the Park.
Virgin Active has suggested that they can use Acton, Hammersmith and Ealing clubs while the pool, sauna and steam room are out of action in Chiswick. Virgin said they can also use the club in Twickenham. But the majority of members work in Chiswick Park and say they do not want to have to travel out of the park.
Mr. Ward, who is CEO of a mobile marketing company in Chiswick Park is emailing top companies in Chiswick Park to get their opinion on the matter- many of the club's members are on discounted corporate rates.
The disgruntled members on Facebook say: "Should we pay full price at Virgin Active Chiswick when for three months there will be no swimming pool, sauna or steam room this summer?"
One member, reacting to Virgin's statement said; " So the answer Virgin Active UK gives is that we should travel to Twickenham if we want to use a pool, fancy a relaxing sauna or steam room for which we are paying. How ridiculous is this? We live/ work in Chiswick and we joined the Chiswick gym".
A statement from Virgin Active said: “We are making significant improvements to the facilities at our Chiswick Park club. As part of this investment, the swimming pool facilities will be closed for refurbishment until late July. "During this time members can use the facilities at neighbouring Virgin Active clubs including Acton, Hammersmith and Ealing. In addition, from this Friday 6 June, members will also be able to use our club in Twickenham, which is part of our premium Classic Collection.
"The experience of our members is of utmost importance to us, and we will be working hard over the next few months to minimise the impact the refurbishment has. All improvement work is due to complete in August, and members will be kept fully informed of progress throughout.”
Christian Ward said that he had been a member of Virgin Active for five years and in the Chiswick Park club for 18 months. He said members had already been putting up with cramped conditions while equipment was moved around during renovation over the past few months.
The refurbishment has already been the subject of controversy. An incident took place in April during the renovations when a large section of the ceiling collapsed at the Chiswick Park club injuring four people. A suspended ceiling fell onto rowing machines as gym members exercised at around 9.40am. The injuries were stated to be minor and the club reopened after a short time.
Ceiling collapse at Virgin Chiswick Park. Picture: @edinibiza
June 6, 2014