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Thursday, 28 April 2011

Local parks turning cash cows

London councils are hitting personal trainers with charge of over £350 to work in public parks and say it would be easily recovered as trainers charge clients circa £50/hour.

What a way to recoup cash for councils. This added cost most certainly makes a difference to the trainer and is likely to be passed onto the customer anyway. Our Buggyfit classes have gone up £1 which may not be a lot but adds up. Fitness trainers holding classes in various parks have it worst and would have to cut back on local authority areas served or live with significantly reduced margins (Yes I'm sympathetic to entrepreneurial fitties).

Personal trainers already have to pay insurance and an extra £350 a year for the privilege to work in a park is a bit steep. My Buggyfit trainer - the very amiable Jackie - suggests an annual registration fee similar to their current insurance fee which is under the £100 mark, giving the trainers a license they can produce on request. Simples.

In this age of catapulting obesity how is this encouraging fitness? The parks are there to be enjoyed by everyone and it's just mean for Councils to try and scrimp money from anywhere possible. Richmond-upon-Thames already has one of the highest council taxes in London and that pays for the upkeep of the parks already right?

Parks are public domain and I've never felt as if they are swamped with personal trainers and when I do see people working out it's a bit of an inspiration... I would perhaps agree should these groups be taking over the free tennis courts and footie fields disallowing regular people to use them. Buggyfit is highly beneficial to local post-natal mums who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to have a work out with baby/toddler in tow. It's not full of shouting and grunting as other more hardcore groups may indicate. I suppose this is where the problem lies. Some people can get peed off about the invasion of their public space.

Nanny's, childminders and dog walkers often use parks as part of their daily routine and there are suggestions that they too will be charged. What on earth...? Who knows how park police will identify them I don't know - will they have to wear a big badge saying "I've paid £350 for the privilege of passing through the park for my work". In any case the council will probably end up paying for extra park policing. I heavily doubt that this extra revenue will go towards the parks anyway.


  1. everybody is out to get everybody. "get your grabby hands out of my pocket!" that's what you should tell those councils.