"Loss of a community" - Gym in Sussex closed after £250,000 renovations

Hove Fitness shut its doors last month due to aerated concrete found in the building. We spoke to the owners of the club to find out what’s happening, but their ‘not confident’ about reopening.
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In 2020, Hove Fitness launched, promising to be a community-led, friendly place for people to exercise, play squash and have a drink.

However, on Tuesday, October 10, the gym was unexpectedly forced to close in the middle of the day, as parts of the building were found to contain RAAC after a recent building inspection.

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RAAC stands for Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete, and is a form of lightweight concrete used in construction in many buildings between the 1950s and 1990s.

The three directors of Hove Fitness.The three directors of Hove Fitness.
The three directors of Hove Fitness.

The reason it is dangerous is it is susceptible to structural failure when exposed to moisture. The bubbles can allow water to enter the material. If that occurs, any rebar reinforcing RAAC can also decay, rust and weaken.

Lucy Egan, one of the three directors of Hove Fitness said: “We've had loads of emails from people saying how devastated they are for us, it’s a massive loss of community.

“We opened in-between two COVID-19 lockdowns. We opened, we closed, but we've really tried hard to keep the gym going.

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“The stadium manager came around that day we unexpectedly closed and handed us an eviction notice. We actually had to get everything out and had a very short period of time to get everything before we were locked out of the building. That's where we are now, we're locked out.”

And it’s not just the gym goers that are upset, there was also multiple squash courts located at the gym in Hove. Ben Hutton, the head coach for squash at Hove Fitness and joint-director said: “I speak for every single solitary squash member, which I know we were a small part, but there was a massive squash community based at that club.

“We’ve national and international champions coming out the club, every single player is gutted. The kids have been crying because they're just lost. I think that's the same for all the class goers.”

The club say they’d spend around £250,000 in investment, equipment, marketing and repairs on the building before it was shut down.

More updates to follow.