Furious Burnley leisure complex owner hits out at government decision not to allow gyms to reopen

The concerned owner of a popular Burnley leisure complex has slammed the Government for not including gyms in the latest easing of lockdown rules.

By Dominic Collis
Wednesday, 24th June 2020, 12:30 pm

Entrepreneur Andrew Brown, who owns Burnley's Crow Wood Leisure and associated Woodlannd Spa and a new hotel, spoke to the Express after being told he would still not be able to welcome back to the complex after being shut for the last three months.

He said fitness industry bosses had been left blindsided by the announcement this week, after believing thay gyms would be able to reopen alongside other hospitality businesses such as pubs and hairdressers on July 4th.

Andrew said: "I think the decision not to let us reopen is absolutely ludicrous. It doesn't make any sense whatsoever. The big players in the gym industry have been lobbying the government for weeks and we were led to believe we could reopen on July 4th.

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Crow Wood Hotel

"To hit us with this news now is just illogical and stupid. We've put an enormous amount of effort and expense in to get ready. We're rearranged our entire gym with 2m. distancing, extra sanitation and electric thermomenters with staff and could reopen tomorrow."

Mr Brown, who opened a luxury hotel on the site last October, described it as "a £13m. paperweight at the moment", and said he was worried for the long-term future.

"We employ 280 people in Burnley and have had no income for the last three months," he added.

The business owner also revealed he had held an online meeting last night with Minister of State for Regional Growth and Local Government Simon Clarke, and other business leaders, to press the government to change thier minds.

He added: "This decision has not been thought out properly. We are supposed to have an obesity and mental health crisis in this country, and gyms and spas can help with that. There are 7,000 gyms in the UK, many of them small and privately owned, who are struggling. The government needs to backtrack in my opinion."