Trainers facing fees for park use

Licensing scheme for fitness trainers using public parks being established in Brighton and Hove.

Fitness: classes in parks are run by organisations across the country - image: British Military Fitness
Fitness: classes in parks are run by organisations across the country - image: British Military Fitness

Fitness trainers using parks and open spaces in Brighton and Hove face a new licensing scheme that is being worked up by the council.

The voluntary scheme would help to promote reputable businesses while raising revenue for the upkeep of the parks, according to the local authority.

"Instructors will be asked to contribute towards the maintenance of green spaces they use. In return, businesses and individuals signing up to the scheme will be advertised on our website," said a spokeswoman.

Discussions with local fitness training companies have shown the majority would support a licensing scheme, she added.

"It would also provide residents with reassurance that licensed instructors running fitness classes and boot camps on council land are properly qualified."

There are around 20 personal fitness training companies and individual trainers running sessions in Brighton and Hove parks, she said. They range from national organisations such as British Military Fitness, which ran 18 classes in three public parks, to smaller local groups.

To join the new scheme, fitness trainers would need to be registered with either ukactive or the Register of Exercise Professionals. "This will give the customer the assurance that the instructors are properly qualified, insured and have undergone relevant security checks," said the spokeswoman.

Councillor Pete West said: "Personal trainers are commercial operators charging customers for their services but until now have made no contribution to the upkeep of the green spaces they use. Other users, such as football and cricket clubs, have to book and pay for using facilities. Our proposed scheme seeks to redress this balance."

He added: "Money raised from the scheme would be used specifically on the up-keep of the parks where classes take place."

Stanmer Park - Masterplan aims to maximise the site's potential

Brighton & Hove City Council is drawing up plans to improve Stanmer Park, restore its historic buildings and create a gateway to the South Downs National Park.

"The masterplan, which aims to maximise the potential of the park, will form the centrepiece of a bid for heritage lottery funding," said Councillor Pete West. The local authority is working with the South Downs National Park Authority, Stanmer Preservation Society and others on the 10-year plan. A consultation is due to begin in March with a view to submitting a funding bid under the Parks for People scheme in August.

Stanmer Estate & Country Park dates back to the 18th century and has historical features, woodland walks and extensive open land. The aim of the masterplan is to restore and protect Stanmer Park's historic buildings and landscape, enhance its natural features and addresses issues such as car parking and accessibility.

West said: "With its beautiful setting and historic buildings, the park has huge potential to become a vibrant gateway to the new national park."

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