Liverpool City Council has taken the decision not to re-open its Lifestyles Millennium gym following a post-lockdown review of the service.
The city centre gym, which is based in Millennium House, on Victoria Street, now faces a number of challenges, many beyond the council’s control, including the building’s landlord entering financial administration, which means that it is no longer financially viable.
Factors affecting the site also include Liverpool John Moores University, whose students provided 80 per cent of gym users at the site, opening its own city centre gym. This move will result in a loss of about £250,000 financial input from the university for the running of the gym.
Since Millennium Lifestyles opened there is now also a more competitive fitness market in the city centre which, added to the ongoing building, security, energy, maintenance and staffing costs, means that the cost to the council to keep the gym open would significantly increase over current estimates.
The council explored a number of options, including keeping the gym facilities closed with a view to re-opening when the leisure and fitness sector recovers. However, this option would have also incurred significant on-going costs.
All Millennium Lifestyles staff will be transferred to other sites and existing gym members will have the option to either cancel or transfer their membership to an alternative centre. Further details will be published on the council’s Lifestyles website.
Equipment from Millennium Lifestyles will be used to replace older equipment at Everton Park and Ellergreen gyms and the capital investment at Peter Lloyd underlines the council’s clear commitment to sport and physical activity by enhancing its existing network of leisure facilities.
Despite the closure of the city centre gym and wider budgetary pressures, the council remains committed to its health and wellbeing offer. Improving health is one of the aims of the City Plan and “Well Liverpool” is one of ten post-pandemic pledges made to the city which will see a “Health in All Policies” approach, which supports public health involvement across all sectors of our economy and communities.
Cllr Harry Doyle, cabinet member for Culture and Visitor Economy, said: “Given the loss of income from LJMU students, and the on-going issues with the city centre premises being in administration, it makes both logical and financial sense to not re-open Millennium Lifestyles.
“This is not a decision that has been taken lightly as we know there are health inequalities within the city and as a council, we want to ensure our residents are able to get and keep physically active
“As we continue with the phased re-opening of our leisure centres, it’s important to note that the service is still under review and I want to ensure that our community-based facilities are not only protected, but that we are ambitious about the future of Lifestyles across the city.
“I am a proud Lifestyles member myself and I know how valued the service is across our communities. Our focus is on our core offer across the city which provides members and residents with access to swim, gym, classes, courts and health suites. Millennium House is surrounded by private gyms in the city centre and we can’t as a council justify providing a gym-only offer at a substantial loss which could then impact on our core offer across the city and in our most deprived communities.”