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Nuffield Health angers members with decision to permanently close hot tubs due to energy crisis

Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing center near the Riverside Walk in Norwich, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom. (Photo by: Andrew Michael/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Nuffield Health has announced it is permanently closing hot tubs at the majority of its centres due to rising energy costs. (Getty)

A health club company is turning off its hot tubs permanently amid the energy crisis, sparking anger among customers.

Nuffield Health switched the 'spa pools' off temporarily in the autumn, saying it might turn them back on in the spring.

But messages sent to members this week said following a review the pools – which are in 72 of its 114 fitness and wellbeing centres – would not be turned back on "across most of our estate".

It added that in some locations, including London's Covent Garden branch, the company would be looking to "repurpose" the spa pool area.

It is not clear yet exactly how many branches will be affected by the decision. Nuffield said not all of its sites have jacuzzis, but over 70 spa pools will close permanently.

Angry customers hit out at the company via Twitter, with some asking for a reduction in membership fees but many were told no discounts would be offered, though they could cancel their membership.

Memberships with Nuffield range in price across the country, with some branches in the Midlands charging £48 a month for off-peak membership, and £56 to go anytime, while the Covent Garden branch costs £69 a month off-peak and £81 a month to go any time.

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When it announced temporary closures of spa pools in the autumn, Nuffield said its gyms used a "significant amount of energy" and had been faced with "considerable" rising energy costs.

In its letter to customers at the time, the company said: "This is to ensure we can conserve energy and allows us to keep our swimming pool, sauna and steam room open and we know that our members highly value and benefit from these facilities."

Ladies exercise during an aqua fit class in the swimming pool at Nuffield Health Sunbury Fitness and Wellbeing Gym in Sunbury-on-Thames, west of London on July 25, 2020 as novel coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased to allow gyms, leisure centres and indoor swimming pools in England to reopen. - England's gyms, leisure centres and indoor swimming pools were allowed to open their doors on July 25 for the first time since the March shutdown was introduced to combat the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
In a statement, Nuffield said its steam rooms, saunas and swimming pools would remain open as usual. (Getty)

At the time, one gym-goer from Derby said: "They say it's due to the energy crisis but I don't understand.

"I pay £49 a month, some people pay more. There are a lot of people that go there during the week, I'd say around 100 people or more a day."

Nuffield previously said it would immediately cancel memberships for those who wish to leave due to the hot tub closures, offering refunds on a case-by-case basis.

In a statement issued following the announcement of the permanent closure of the hot tubs, Nuffield said the circumstances that led to the temporary closure had not changed and its energy costs remain "significantly higher", leading to the decision.

It said it would not be offering discounts as part of the change.

A spokesperson said: “Our fitness and wellbeing centres use a significant amount of energy and to meet rising costs we’ve made the difficult decision to permanently close the majority of our spa pools.

"We remain committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of our members and our steam rooms, saunas and swimming pools will remain open as usual."