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Virgin Active closes Birmingham Star City club

Members offered chance to use facilities in Edgbaston and Solihull after unexpected shutdown

Star City, Birmingham

Birmingham health club Virgin Active is to close its Star City outlet as part of a major review of its national operation.

The club, which opened as a Virgin Active site in 2006, will shut on December 20. The facility’s 30 plus full and part-time staff should be found positions at alternative venues in the city, according to the fitness chain, part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin group.

Management pledged to find jobs elsewhere in the club network for as many staff as possible, while members would be offered the chance to use Virgin Active facilities at sites in Edgbaston and Solihull.

The unexpected announcement of the Star City shutdown follows similar moves at clubs in Cardiff and Richmond and Epsom in Surrey.

Furious Star City members claimed they were not told of the decision until notices appeared in the club and on the Virgin Active website.

Siamha Butt said she only joined the club two weeks ago and nothing was mentioned about the impending closure.

In a Facebook post she said: “I joined just two weeks ago they never mentioned this when I signed up and as far as I am aware they continued taking on new members even though they must have known they were closing the club down.

A spokesman for Virgin Active confirmed that the site was due to close next month.

He said: “Virgin Active in Birmingham Star City will close at 2pm on December 20.

“As part of our ordinary course of business, we continually review our club portfolio to ensure that we remain highly competitive and best position ourselves to support the long-term growth of the business. As a result, we have taken the difficult decision to close the Virgin Active club in Birmingham Star City, which was acquired from Holmes Place in 2006.

“Members of the club are able to transfer their membership to any of the local Virgin Active clubs and we are working with our staff to identify opportunities to stay with the business.”

The spokesman added: “We are continuing to invest significantly in our existing clubs to ensure that members continue to receive the kind of experience they expect from Virgin Active”

Founded 14 years ago, Virgin Active is one of the largest global health club companies and now has 1.5 million members in 272 clubs in eight different countries. It took over 46 sites nationwide from the Holmes Place and Esporta groups seven years ago  but several of these have closed in the last six months.

Earlier this year it announced a management reorganisation with founder Matthew Bucknall being replaced as chief executive by finance director Paul Woolf.

 

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