A NEW health club in Uckfield has been told it cannot open to the public until building work has been carried out to rectify safety problems.

But the club manager claimed this week that the general quality of thebuilding was above minimum requirements.

Isenhurst Health Club was set up on Bell Lane after change of use planning permission was granted by Wealden District Council.

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However, an inspection carried out by a Wealden building control manager revealed that construction work had been completed without meeting relevant building regulations.

The club s owners have been told that much of the building work carried out fell below minimum health and safety guidelines. They have been ordered to rectify these areas before they can open fully to the public.

The Wealden officer found serious breaches of building regulations , including:

Inadequate fire protection;Inadequate means of escape; Structural instability to a mezzanine floor; Instability to a swimming pool; General instability to the original structure.

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It was found that builders had cut through the building s foundations in order to install the swimming pool. A Wealden spokesman said that this was likely to seriously affect the stability of the building.

Press officer Petra Dalton said: We are hoping to meet and work with the owner again, and we are hopeful that building regulations will have been complied with by the end of the month.

She added that, until the improvements were carried out, public access to the premises would be restricted to people viewing it with view to membership.

Club manager Tim Evans said that the plans Wealden had for the site had not corresponded with the ones held by the club.

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He said: The way Wealden are describing this makes it sound really serious and dangerous.

It s not at all like that. The quality of the work here is superb and everything has been done well above the minimum requirement. All we need to do is install a couple of extra fire doors and move a fire escape on an exterior wall further along the wall.

He added that the club had not been closed down by Wealden because it had not yet been fully and officially opened.

Published: 7.6.01 Sussex Newspapers Ltd