Rossendale Free Press

Rescue bid for health studio is launched


A BID has been launched to rescue Bacup’s Pioneer Community Health Studio, after its doors closed suddenly last month.

We can reveal that Rossendale Leisure Trust (RLT) is seeking to take over the gym, which saw bailiffs called in to seize equipment in the week before Christmas.

Hundreds of members have sought to change or scrap their contracts with the Trust in the wake of the closure. The Trust, appointed as managing agent in 2019, announced it had ended its partnershi­p with the Park Road facility’s gym owners on December 15, after a creditor brought legal action to recover a historic debt. Bosses said that their team had reached an agreement to purchase the assets of the business and secure the long-term future of the gym, only for the owners to opt not to progress with the sale.

However, chief executive Ken Masser told the Free Press they are looking to revive that deal, provided the equipment can be returned from bailiffs and the building lease can be transferre­d to them.

He said the deal would see the “sizeable” debt repaid in full, alongside an additional payment covering the balance of the business and its assets.

Mr Masser said: “The Pioneer partnershi­p was really key to us and something we have been working on for a long time.

“We put in our (December) statement that we were committed to try and find a solution.

“There’s a publiclyow­ned facility in Whitworth, Rawtenstal­l and Haslingden, and there isn’t one in Bacup.

“We are committed to health and wellbeing of everyone in Rossendale.”

All RLT members retained full and ongoing access to other fitness facilities in the Valley, along with 18 other leisure sites across East Lancashire. However, Mr Masser admitted the Trust’s small admin team had been faced with up to 400 membership enquiries and cancellati­ons from affected Pioneer users.

He added: “We have been keen to be clear that members will not be adversely affected by this closure. If they paid up front they can request a refund on a pro rata basis.

“A cancellati­on fee will be refunded on request.

“The team have worked really hard to respond to people’s queries as efficientl­y and quickly as possible.”

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