Public parks could cost personal trainers hundreds of pounds

West London scheme could lead to charges around the country

Entrepreneurs running fitness ventures in public parks could face hundreds of pounds in charges if new rules, introduced by councils in London, are rolled out nationwide.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council has introduced a £350 annual charge for all personal trainers using its network of public parks to train their clients. The charge rises to £1,250 for those who train large groups of people.

Similar schemes are cropping up elsewhere; for example, personal trainers in Twickenham were hit with a £300 charge earlier this month.

It is unclear as yet how many local authorities across the UK will follow London’s lead – although the mayor of Watford has rubbished the idea, saying “parks are free for everybody.”

Reaction to the charges across the fitness industry has been mixed. Chrissie Gallagher-Mundy, director of the London Academy of Personal Fitness, told the BBC the scheme being introduced in Hammersmith and Fulham “will put the cost of training up for the people who use trainers” and is only “a step away from charging people to use roads to run on.”

However Charlie Clifford, who runs Richmond-based personal training firm Fit UK and has been forced to pay £300 for use of Twickenham’s Marble Hill park, told Startups the charge “is a fair price – not excessive.”

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