Friday, 19 August 2011

Working out in Kennington and Oval: New gyms and things

The Gym Group probably consider that their budget gym in Vauxhall has performed well beyond their expections. Last I heard, the £15 per month Vauxhall gym (tucked at the bottom of the St George Wharf building) was completely full and even had a waiting list.  Poor Paris Gym (men only) must have felt the squeeze, since they were the only gym on the block in Vauxhall for a long time.

Due to over-balancing the books in Vauxhall, it's not surprising that The Gym Group have applied for planning permission (11/01811/FUL) for a gym on 131-143 Clapham Road in (what I think is) the new Galliard development (near Caldwell Road).  That's quite a long way down for SE11 residents, but might be useful for readers in SW8 or SW9.  Permission has not yet been received, but I'll keep an eye on that one.  I don't imagine it will be contentious.

To date though, the SE11 heartland of Kennington has been without a gym.  I've often felt that was a missed opportunity because it's a bit of a trip up to the Fusion Centre on the Elephant and Castle roundabout... Most residents seem to trek across to Vauxhall.  But in March this year, I was really pleased to see that a rival budget gym, Pure Gym, announced they'd be opening a branch in Kennington Park Business Centre (opposite Kennington Park and Oval tube station).

The Pure Gym planned for Kennington Business Park opposite Oval Station has moved its opening date from Summer to Autumn and have announced an official launch date of October 27th.  That's positive news, and I imagine a gym there would be very popular.  It's a busy junction hub.  I've had contact with a representative from Pure Gym, and thus can confirm the following details:

The gym will measure 20,000 square metres with 220 pieces of equipment and they claim to run over 40 free classes each day.  Kennington/Oval Pure Gym will be priced at £24.99 per month with a £25 joining fee.  BUT... If you join during the promotional period (usually up until a week before opening), you'll pay £19.99 per month and a £15 joining fee.  Certainly sounds like a good deal although slightly more expensive than its rival's offering.  If you're worried about joining a gym before it opens, they offer a seven day money-back policy so if you don't like it when it opens, you can get your money back within that time period.

So, a new bike shop (Balfe's bikes) for Kennington and a new gym for Oval.  Not bad for an area which used to be very empty.  I suppose that's gentrification (of which I have mixed views) in action.  I know people keep asking when the Waitrose will arrive (and there were rumours that seem to have died down about one near Vauxhall Station), but I think independent shops and restaurants are just as important and should be celebrated.  What I'd really like to see is a new lease of life for Lambeth Walk...  Any takers?

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