A PERSONAL trainer from Bournemouth has been told that he must pay nearly £1,000 in rent for holding fitness sessions in the car park of a closed gym.

Andy Keegan has told the Daily Echo that he feels bullied by BH Live and that the penalty is just one of the problems he has experienced with those running the Queen’s Park gym since the pandemic started.

He said: “I was a self-employed personal trainer at Queen’s Park BH Live when all gyms were shut.”

When the first lockdown was lifted, he said he met BH Live managers and told them he was struggling to get his clients back into the gym as they had “understandable concerns”.

“Their stance was simply that I needed to advertise more,” he said.

“I verbally handed my notice in for the safety of some of my elderly clients and was allowed to finish off any sessions people had pre-paid for.”

When restrictions eased after the second lockdown, the gym remained closed so Mr Keegan trained his clients outside the BH Live complex and used the overhang of the Queen’s Park car park to keep dry.

Bournemouth Echo: The overhang of the Queen's Park gym car park that Mr Keegan used to keep dryThe overhang of the Queen's Park gym car park that Mr Keegan used to keep dry

Mr Keegan said: “BH Live are now asking me for rent as I used their ‘outside facilities’. They feel that I owe them two months’ rent, even though the gym was closed and empty.”

According to Mr Keegan, who has been a personal trainer for 20 years, BH Live are asking him for £940.

He says that he received a letter stating that he had entered into a written agreement with BH Live for them to supply facilities for his personal training sessions and that he owed rent. 

Mr Keegan said that he was not aware of a written agreement and so requested that BH Live provide him with a copy. He received a reply four months later acknowledging that there was no written agreement, but maintained the charge due to his use of the ‘outdoor facilities’.

The 43-year-old father said: “I feel that to charge me in the middle of a pandemic and when the centre was shut is harsh to say the least. 

“Parents from the nearby Park School use the carpark all the time and they don’t get fined.

“I have offered £117 for the use of their supposed outside facilities as a goodwill gesture as I enjoyed my time at BH Live, but they haven’t responded, and a response is what I’m asking for.

Mr Keegan added: “I don’t think BH Live has acted very well during the pandemic. Having to wait months for a reply isn’t good for anyone’s mental health. They’re trying to bully people and it’s not on.”

The Queen’s Park gym is currently closed until further notice, with gym goers encouraged to visit other local BH Live facilities at Stokewood, Littledown, Sir David English, Corfe Mullen and Pelhams.

BH Live has more than 20,000 members in the Bournemouth and Poole area.

The Daily Echo has approached BH Live for comment.