Members of a gym and squash club have called it a “lifeline” as they fight to save it from permanent closure.

Hove Fitness and Squash in Nevill Road was forced to close last month after dangerous RAAC concrete was found in the building.

Now, hundreds of club stakeholders have come together to show support for the site.

Mark Cronin, a Falklands War veteran, said: “It’s devastating. I think the small amount of work that will be needed to put it right outweighs what should be done for people’s mental health and the community.

The Argus: Mark Cronin, a Falklands veteran who used the gymMark Cronin, a Falklands veteran who used the gym (Image: The Argus)

“I think the biggest thing is about mental health. Coming back from what we did in the South it really feels like a home for us.

“It has been a home hub for 37 years for me and is a place that I love to come. It’s so friendly and is great for everyone to come down and get involved.”

Owners of HFS Matt Lambert, Lucy Egan and Ben Hutton have been fighting with their landlords after being told that the site would not be repaired or re-let.

The Argus: Matt Lambert and Lucy EganMatt Lambert and Lucy Egan (Image: Andrew Gardner/The Argus)

Global betting company Entain, which owns the gym, said that HFS needs to remove all its kit by December 1.

Hundreds of members showed their support for the club and called on Entain to re-think their decision.

The site is home to several groups including the Hove Hornets running club. Some members of the gym have been using the site for more than 30 years.

Diana Moore, who has used the gym for decades, called the site a “lifeline for parents” after she used to use the creche facilities while she exercised.

The Argus: Sally Nichols, Brian Moore and Diana Moore who are all members of the gymSally Nichols, Brian Moore and Diana Moore who are all members of the gym (Image: The Argus)

She added: “I was so sad when I heard about the closure. It has wonderful classes but more importantly it’s part of the community.”

Husband Brian added: “It’s a nice, local, accessible gym. You can see how many people care about it here – it looks like a crowdfunding opportunity.”

The gym has received support from prominent figures including Brighton councillors and Hove MP Peter Kyle.

Mr Kyle previously wrote to Entain chief executive Jette Nygaard-Anderson saying that he was “desperately worried” about the club’s future.

He added: “I would dearly love you to look into this matter and help resolve the matter as quickly as possible.”

Owners Matt and Lucy said they were “really touched” by the number of people who came to support the club.



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Lucy said: “It’s really touching and it shows what a big part of the community the club is. We have 2,000 members and more than that use the club.

Matt added: “We need the landlords to re-think and realise that this is affecting real people here.

“This shows just what type of club we are. We’re not just a gym we’re a community asset.

A spokesman for Entain told The Argus they “acted immediately” to close the property after RAAC concrete was discovered. They added: "Regrettably, a survey has since revealed critical structural issues, forcing us to give notice to the Hove Fitness and Squash club for safety reasons. We do not intend to re-let the property.”