City's expensive sports club revealed

PUBLISHED: 07:29 20 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:03 22 October 2010

The new private sports club at the Norwich Sport Village was unveiled for the first time yesterday.

The new private sports club at the Norwich Sport Village was unveiled for the first time yesterday.

Health and fitness chain Esporta has renovated the former Broadland Council facility at Hellesdon, near Norwich, at a cost of £12m and is now hoping to win over the public - many of whom objected to the site's sale to a private firm at what was seen as a knockdown price of £450,000.

Prices ranging from £55 to £75 a month mean it is the Norwich area's most expensive sports club, but bosses are confident of winning over public opinion. So far 2,500 people have expressed interest in membership in the 6,000 capacity Norfolk Health and Racquets Club which opens on July 1.

The club says it is aimed mainly at those in management or professional roles earning £25,000 a year or more. But it estimates there are about 40,000 target customers within 10 minutes travelling time.

Marketing director Scott Wallace said: "Of course we have been aware of some hostility towards our plans. When it was announced we were taking over the sports village there was a lot of opposition.

"When we bought the site Broadland Council basically had two choices: renovate it themselves at a huge cost and probably not achieve anywhere near the level we have, or sell it.

"We have invested millions in the site and when people see the work we've done they'll realise that we really are providing a prestige facility.

"If people use the club regularly it doesn't work out much more expensive that joining a local authority gym and having to pay additional costs for swimming. We would argue our customers get much more than a facility like that could ever offer."

More than 100 people have been recruited both from other health clubs and from outside the industry.

The 16,500sqm club boasts a 25m swimming pool, 20m outdoor pool, various studios and a large fitness area. Its racquets club includes a six court indoor tennis complex including two US Open standard courts along with four outdoor courts.

The club is preparing to host a tennis competition for under 16s looking to break into the sport, on July 29.

Prizes include a place in the Esporta Racquets Academy - a nationwide initiative to find the best tennis talent. To apply contact 01603 615584.

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