Registrar responds to council park charges


REPs Registrar Jean-Ann Marnoch has been in contact with Hammersmith and Fulham Council, in West London, after it announced plans to charge personal trainers a yearly charge for using its parks and open spaces for business.

The council wants PTs, and other business people including dog walkers, to pay a £350 “licence” to allow them to work in the park and therefore make money from its premises.

Jean-Ann said: “I understand the council wanting to install some kind of process and regulation for people using parks and open spaces to run their businesses from, but I’m concerned the suggested fee is too high and could stop people from using PTs, and therefore exercising.

“Currently the council insists only REPs-registered instructors carry out supervised exercise sessions in their parks, which is something I wholeheartedly support.  However, as a former PT myself I understand how a fee of £350 a year would ultimately have to be passed on to clients, and could in turn stop them using a personal trainer. Working out in a park is not usually a permanent all year round option, and based on the current fee, and the number of uses per client, the fee that would be passed on or absorbed is significantly high to be a barrier. Encouraging more people to lead an active, and therefore healthier, lifestyle is something we should all be encouraging rather than discouraging.

“With this in mind I’ve asked the council to review and reduce the fee to an amount that PTs would find more palatable and is more relevant to the amount of time that they are able to use the parks. I’ve also suggested PTs are asked to wear their REPs lapel badges as a way of helping park staff ensure only REPs PTs practice in its facilities.”

65 responses to “Registrar responds to council park charges

  1. I resent this new charge as we have already paid taxes to maintain OUR parks, I am currently working with a professional to prove that this rule is illegal and is not in line with current uk legislation.

    I also regrettably have to mention that REPS has once again taken this opportunity to label themselves as the defacto organisation responsible for maintaining levels of expertise

  2. bruno

    How stupid is this. The parks are public and of everyone’s use, there shouldnt be a charge for using them. This is only another way this country is trying to make money over small businesses instead trying to do things to incentive the development of such. This country’s policies are an embarassement. I mean, why do fitness instructors have to have a license to play music in their classes inside a gym premisses if the gyms themselves already hold such licenses? Things just don’t make sense for me anymore.

    • Abdiqadir

      Abosolutely rediculous… This is very un-professional from REPs and it should be held accountable for even considering the charges… The Park is public place, you have people playing football, volleyball, and vice versa…

      Why should PTs get charged… This is heart-breaking for me since am new in this field.

      I hope things go the right way

  3. Simon Douglas

    Another barrier in the way of helping people to lead healthy lifestyles! So pleased that REPS have stepped up and spoken on our behalf. Always wear my lapel badge with pride and whilst a nominal fee sounds reasonable; a £350 fee seems like a cynical cash-in much like speed cameras for motorists.

  4. Annette Salter

    As a teacher of private classes I pay over £4000.00 each year to teach 2 nights a week (4 hours in total) in a school. I don’t think that £350 per year is too much to ask instructors in public parks etc. These instructors are earning a living from it and should expect to pay something for the use of space.
    My class members have to pay an obligatory membership to attend + their class fees. Charging the people that attend in public parks is not much to ask compared to teachers in school and Village halls. We are also Reps registered (obligatory). We have to pay registration and PPL on top of all other expenses.

    What a problem it would cause if we all decided to take our classes out to the local parks to save money !

    • Colette

      I completley disagree with your comments. The reason PT’s and instructors pay studio hire costs is firstly because there are many costs involved in running a gym/studio/hall. Heating, lighting, marketing, websites, equipment etc. etc. There is nothing to pay for in a park! Any costs of maintaining a park is already paid for with our taxes. Secondly, when you teach in a studio/hall etc. you’re paying to be in an exclusive area, you don’t get this privacy in a public space. Also why on earth should only PT’s pay for this? Why not everyone who uses a park? Dog walkers and baby sitters for example may be gaining money from using a park. It is utterly ridiculous that anyone should pay to use a public park. It is a wonderful place that many people should be able to use and all PT’s should support each other about this matter whether you use a park for your clients or not.

      • Shaun La Touche

        I also agree with your comments, we pay for the upkeep of our parks with taxes and why should we pay any more to use them. I would guarantee that most dog walkers, babysitters etc use the parks more than many PT’s, so why are there penalties for PT’s using natures facilities. Will it mean I get a rebate on my council tax if I don’t use the parks as a public citizen, Mmmm! let me think about that, do dog walkers pay any extra to pick up the mess that is left behind by some owners. I for one would not be able to justify the £350 cost with the number of clients that I train at the park, so what then, tell my few clients to go to the local gym/health club where they can breathe in a nice filtered air conditioned atmosphere, enjoy the views of other sweaty people in the mirrors or maybe just tell them to forget beginning a healthy / active lifestyle and go back to sitting in a chair all day. This country will price itself out of the market more than it has already, if it continues to rip the shirts of the backs of every hard working individual!! I suppose though, it’s easier for the government to pocket cash from good honest working people than to try and do something about all the illegitimate benefit claims them know and are aware of, maybe the councils should ask the banks for a levy or maybe even the councils would like to donate the cost as it is them who have got us in this mess in the first place and what will be next a toll charge to run on the pavement!!!!

  5. Jenna Lincoln

    I think this is typical of greedy people trying to make money out of every situation. The government should be helping to encourage fitness in all areas!!

    • Georgina

      I totally agree with you Jenna, the country is facing a real issue with the rising levels of obesity and subsequent related symptoms including depression. We should be encouraged to get outside and enjoy the benefits of open spaces, fresh air & sunshine – all proven to lift our spirits.

  6. I read this article with great interest as I am being charged £1008.00 per year to walk in Bushy Park one of the Royal Parks. If I want to walk in Richmond Park I have to pay a separate license. Furthermore, Bushy Park will not disclose who pays what and I have been liaising with Culture, Media and Sports over the matter of disclosure of such information. I walk groups of 50 year olds nordic walking fitness, approximately 5-10 people in a class around 5 times a week and to pay £1008.00 for privilage makes it impossible to earn a living, by the time I have paid tax, my times, and running of the business plus equipment it makes it pointless. However, clients like the class and want to keep fit. It has made life very difficult for me as a trainer. By acting in this way towards fitness providers they are deterring people from using a park for exercise, futhermore, Government are meant to be promoting health and wellbeing, yet parks are now jumping on the wagon and charging small Fitness Providers ridiculously high fees to exercise. I agree there should be a nominal charge for upkeep of parks but £1008 is taking it too far. Also the fairness of charging, especially in the Royal Parks!! Seems if your face fits you are okay but if you stand up for your rights you are deemed bad news!!

    Beverley Boon
    Trynordic.co.uk

    • Mick

      I am shocked by the cost of the proposed charge, I am a fitness and dance instructor, I have to hire halls, have a public liability lnsurance,PPL licence and PRS, also because I work in schools, I have to have a child Protection Certificate,Child Protection and Safe guarding Policy and Level 3 Diploma in child care and Development plus Emergency first Aid at work, each year my out goings are increasing, so I have started looking at PT, but with these outrageous costs, should I bother. Beverley cost of £1008 needs to be looked at , REPs needs to step in and remind PT and other trainers do good work by keeping people fit and the costs down for the NHS. More money making, get quick rich schemes from councils, soon everyone will be charged Pt no PT just for running in a Park. Loved WILL’s comments.
      Mickie

    • I totally agree with what you have said! I train groups of post natal mums who come along to the parks in Richmond and Twickenham with their babies through all weathers and I have been fighting these license fees for over a year now! The Richmond and Twickenahm borough are already charging me £450 for my 2 classes a week and I pay a further £300 to a National Heritage park! On top of that I pay a licence fee to use the Buggyfit brand name and top of that my annual insurance to Reps, together with all the other costs ie clothing, travel etc. I feel a one off payment to be registered in the area as a trainer is fair to legislate standards, however this could be at a similar fee we currently pay for our insurance for the year. Instead the Government are cashing in on small buisnesses, unlike the larger operations like BMF, whose licence fee is reportedly £1200 and I resented whole heartedly them being given a voice on National Television, as if representing fitness professionals! and judging others who work in the Open Spaces suggesteing many are not registered or qualified! British Military Fitness if for the large groups and involves far more diruption to the parks than a group of Nordic Walkers or in my case a group of post natal mums and their babies!!

  7. What a ridiculous scheme from the council, more money making, especially from the self-employed. I find it interesting how they are going to micro-manage this!? If we are in a park training in plain gear who’s to say you are a PT, you could just be two people out in the park for some exercise, or is that now a crime too?

    • Hi Ben, I guess this is the biggest problem. I train a couple of clients in a local park and there are always five or six people in a running club jogging round. I find it difficult to see how the council could tell the difference

  8. Perhaps if a fee is paid and even if it is the full £350 (£6.70/week) Trainers could get something back in retrun for the fee paid. For example trainer pays £350 to utilise public place to conduct their sessions but in return the council lists these trainers available for outdoor sessions in other public places (leaflets and relevent data bases just as GP surgeries are are also listed). Maybe a win:win raised profile of PT and community awareness PT is real and present in the community:Council receives moneies to help maintain the parks. This could all turn out well – And the now such discussions are on national news and this blog post is all good – they say all publicity is good publicity…

    • No, let’s not compromise. This is just self serving council officials who buy themselves ipads on tax payers money drumming up a new way to raise funds. If we give in to this now soon there will be a fee to just run around a park or have a picnic with our children on a weekend. If they thought they could get away with it they would! There is no real difference between random joggers and organised sessions in a park, just that one makes money and the council want a share of the money. The National Trust are planning to do the same thing, soon we won’t be able to go hill walking or mountain biking without paying. the land is scared, its belongs to all of us, not council officials

  9. Mike Ireland

    Sadly it is a case of councils seeing a way to make money without seeing the bigger picture !

    Often on boot camps there are all shapes & sizes exercising with a great variation in ages too. This can show all who see the sessions that anyone can take part & not just the fit people which is a very common misconception.

    Councils should understand that these sessions are getting people fit, thereby placing less of a strain on the local NHS, local employers due to less work days lost due to sickness etc etc. ie. all the benefits that we know exercise can give the community.

    Unfortuneately this is not a tangible pounds & pence figure therefore they do not see it, so they just see what they can reap from charging trainers :o(

    Watch this space !

    Mike

  10. Alan Thruston

    We are lucky enough to be able to live longer now due to great fresh food availability and numerous exercise options to give us a good balanced quality of life generally. However over the last 15 years or so our modern day lifestyle has changed dramatically. These gradual changes include, less active work positions, more use of the car and public transport instead of walking, take away cheap and convenient meals, overpriced profiteering gym companies and a complete change in relaxed entertainment living, based around computers indoors. The long term burden on the NHS is becoming quite apparent. We now, should to be encouraging every possible form of exercise at the most cost efficient way for the general public’s health and life balance in order to stem the long term costs for us all.Most councils are employed to promote the health and fitness of their community, therefor it is entirely hypocritical to promote community health in one hand whilst discouraging these efforts through money making charges in the other. The ethics of this are totally unacceptable.

  11. This is a tricky situation as in essence, we are using the facilities for commercial use. It is perhaps worth noting that this fee applies to one park in London and to be honest, the majority of UK parks offer these facilities at a much lower price. If we are to be professional then we should do things properly, how many PT’s are doing one on one and boot camps in parks and have never got permission? What if the client broke their ankle, who they sue? The park or the trainer? In my opinion, one on one should not be charged but I can understand larger groups and boot camps.

    • Actually these fees are being quoted by many councils and not all are a cheap as the one mentioned recently! Richmond Park are quoting approximately £800 for the year, aas I was quoted last year, at which point I moved my sessions to a green space in Twickenham. I am now paying £450 for the two classes a week there together with fees at Marble Hill park a National Heritage park and more locally to myself in Sunbury on Thames, the council there have quoted £400 also. So they are all jumping on this band wagon and it would be great if we, as Fitness professional could do something to be heard and make a difference!

  12. Will

    Are these the very same councils that started to charge motorists for parking in the once free car parks and streets? only to find that most shoppers now go to out of town shopping centres and mega stores with free parking, leaving row upon row of boarded up shop fronts.Thus doing themselves out of rent and rates etc for a few quid and crippling shop owners in the process?
    yea way to go council you crack on. Its a fantastic sceheme. I for one will be taking my clients the park. I am insured and registered.If you ask i’m helping a family friend to get fit, just me and a friend having a workout.
    If you think i’m going to pay councils that have spent all OUR money and ran themselves into the floor they are sadley mistaken.I will sign off reps ,get my own insurance , no record of me anywhere. As the french say ” They can fuck right off”! excuse my french.

  13. I think its worthwhile remembering that most parks are governed by Bye Laws which often have clauses prohibiting trade: for example:

    Not to “carry on any trade or business in a Park, offer anything for sale or hire or expose or have in his possession anything for the purpose of sale or hire therein”

  14. This is really interesting because of course any fitness professional wants to help people become more active and dislikes any barrier to achieving this. But using parks to exercise in is one thing but using it to train clients in reasonably can be considered another. Having REPs fight exercise professionals corner to get the best deal possible is good. But if a park had 20 PTs a day stepping up and down on benches and running up and down in all weathers quite reasonably the park requires extra maintenance and repair. So paying a small fee seems reasonable. Ripping PTs off would be unreasonable. BUT more than this – This makes us step up!!! We must run professional and financially viable businesses to be taken seriously and ultimately make the difference we all want to make and therefore I believe it is good that we are charged a reasonable amount as it means we are being perceived to be running viable businesses in public places. And this is good. If JAM can get the best possible agreement we win. If we can build a business that remains financially viable we win. If members of the public receive great training that gets them fit we win. This really is all good providing REPs can help keep the cost reasonable with the councils. We get no help from the NHS, old PCT funds and rarely get a look in when the Government dishes out its money. Millions are wasted repeatedly and we have seen so many ‘schemes’ fail. But we work – let’s just keep making it work and get people fit in or out the parks as business-minded not just passionate trainers. Whatever the end fee, we’ll be OK. Well that’s what I think anyway 🙂

  15. Connie

    Ever think that some of us might also be already paying alot of money to rent space inside a facility already Annette.

    Frankly, I’m surprised at your attitude – if you REALLY are a class teacher. It appears you’re just jealous of others and would rather see them suffer and be out of pocket.

    There’s nothing stopping YOU from taking your classes outdoors..somehow, I don’t think you have the guts.

  16. Connie

    As expected, since the country has been bankrupted, councils, and government in general will be looking at easy targets to ‘licence’ and extract money from now and in the following few years ahead. Expect more of the same.

    Councils must be rubbing their hands – a vast array of other ‘businesses that use parks could be targeted – dog walkers, photographers, travel writers, walking tours, sketch artists, nannies out pushing prams, anyone operating a smart-phone while carrying out a commercial activity (checking share prices perhaps?), not to mention drug dealers – I see plenty of that going on in local parks, will they also need to pay a licence fee?

    When Cameron said it would be small businesses that would be leading the way out of this financial crisis, I can see what he meant now..

    Yes, Will – these are the same geniuses that ran our high streets into the ground and bankrupted themselves recently. These pen pushers wouldn’t make it in the real world creating money with viable businesses, hence why they gravitate towards safe jobs where they ‘licence’ and ‘register’ to make money.

    This all sounds fishy – “Currently the council insists only REPs-registered instructors carry out supervised exercise sessions in their parks, which is something I wholeheartedly support. ” Really, why’s that?

    Certainly suits REPS doesn’t it?

    What, have REPS been losing members that have been tied into the cosy relationship that REPS has with the big health club chains?

    • TERRIT THATCHER

      Hear, hear Connie to both your comments, I certainly shan’t be rolling over because of park bye-laws or a governing body chooses to do so, I already pay one of the highest council taxes in the country and this covers parks…who knows if your being paid or not? Unless you tell them! Have you ever seen anyone being arrested or fined for letting their dog foul the parks? They will have to start empoying wardens to enforce all the bye-laws, or use the community police in an area where cuts are being made!

  17. what next,charging us to walk down the street,a park is a puplic space, not a private park, i’m sure we all pay enough ‘council tax,why should we pay more,a lot of my client’s love exercising outside,and don’t like going to the gym,ithaughtit was get britain fit not fat, and i don’t mean the cats. john.

  18. Rachel Hill

    I currently pay £250 for one hour a week, if you had to pay at every park you used it would be a nightmare. I agree there should be a small fee in order to feel you can use a specific area without being hassled however if I am going to pay the money I would like my clients to be able to run round without either stepping in dog pooh or being chased by a dog thinking we want to play! Also I have have cones chewed and stolen by dogs this is not to mention those who cock their legs up the exercise mats (the dogs not the owners!).
    By the way when I went to Australia people exercise in all tue parks for a couple of dollars because the councils pay trainers to keep their nation fit?!

  19. mark adams

    outrageous what are councils gonna do next charge pts for taking people for run around the streets this is another barrier against people wanting to work self employed and make a good living.

  20. Richard Barbour

    Most of the people who commented on here have missed the point that this is yet another tax. Parking charges are nothing more than a tax after all. Even your TV licence is a tax!! It’s disgusting that there are those who actually agree with this on this site. What are we paying council tax for? Don’t be surprised if the hand of the EUSSR is behind this. I mean does anyone really think our laws are made by our own politicians?
    As with the proposed sell off of our forests to vested interests, will it not soon be the case that our parks will be sold off too, for short term financial gain? The forest thing sounds like the days of the so called Royal Forests when no one was allowed to use them unless they paid some kind of tax. So as I’ve already said what we are really looking at is an open spaces and park tax. Like one of your previous posters said, they can F R O. If it comes to it I too will find alternative insurance and accreditation rather than hand over any more of my money to organisations I regard as nothing more than gangsters.
    A lot of people see PTs as a luxury, at present an affordable one for some, a neccessary one for others.
    It seems to me that the councils/government don’t really want a fit healthy population as they will not only be active in the body but also in the mind. Healthy body, healthy mind is as relevant today as it always was.
    A sluggish population is easier to manipulate.
    This is an attempt to use us a revenue stream. REPs should actually be fighting to stop this getting off the ground. It is hard enough to get established with a consistent client base and actually make some money.
    I dsagree totally with those who say that it is right that we pay to use the parks. Passing this on to our clients will result in lost clients and lost business thereby, less PTs in a viable business and subsequently less of us in the REPS organisation.
    Finally it begs the question, do the PTB really want the population to be fit and healthy?
    If they really did they would shut the junk food industry down, deal with all the other rubbish masquerding as food, reinstate proper nutritional cooking at school level and reintroduce compulsory physical education to name but a few.
    As with the attempt to stop us eating what most of know is good for us, this could end up regulating Fitness Professionals out of business due to rediculous costs.
    Is that what will eventaully happen?

    • TERRI THATCHER

      I totally agree with you Richard, I have not found that being a member of REPS actually helps me in my work, in fact some of the top class PT’S in this country, the ones that are earning thousands, are not even REPS certified and some of their methods are ground breaking and too advanced for REPS to even recognise. I agree that REPS should be fighting against payment not agreeing to it!

  21. I was surprised by the news articles and all the attention as I work in Hammersmith and Fulham parks and have been paying the license for the last 6 months! I don’t resent paying a small fee that truly represents the council’s admin time and ultimately it should help to keep untrained and uninsured trainers out of the park. £350 is simply to much money and does not represent the cost to the council.
    When I registered they said that I would be listed on the council website as a registered PT and 7 months on this has not happened. My license has now lapsed because the council could not get its act together to properly administer my renewal. The parks are quite heavily policed and yet the PCSO’s and Parks Constabulary never seem to stop people dropping litter and letting their dogs crap everywhere, instead I was asked to take my TRX off of a tree the other day!
    I will be interested to see where this goes now it is public, and how it is received. The country needs to wake up to the fact the population are getting fatter, and less healthy, and exercise in all of its forms should be encouraged and NOT taxed.

    • I was threatened by an officious Policewoman last year when she asked me if I had a licence to train the group of post natal mums I was just starting a Buggyfit session with in Richmond Park. To which I naively said yes I had a Buggyfit licence, together with my Reps registration and Personal insurance. However this was before all this publicity and I knew nothing about having a Royal Parks licence to use the parks for my classes which had been happily running for the last 6 years! At this point the policewoman threatened to have me arrested if I was seen in the park again without registering for a licence and asked me to leave the park immediately, with my mums and babies into the paved busy streets of Sheen! When I applied for the licence I was in fact refused as they said they already had someone else taking a similar class from another organisation, which in fact amounted to one class a week and they felt that was enough in the huge expanse of open space in Richmond Park. When I then found out the licence fee was going to be in excess of £800 I moved elsewhere but come on……. don’t the Police have better things to do like catching real criminals in our London Boroughs!!

  22. james mccallum

    Totally disgusting behaviour, I use the parks for my own fitness training, but it is public space, the people using it and being trained are the public, we have already paid for these jobsworths and the parks upkeep in our taxes.
    And please, REPS, stop trying to prevent non REPS trainers using the park, REPS could be percieved as an extra tax on trainers from clubs who have made it compulsary. I have always been a member of fitpro and have always updated my knowledge regularly, I have never needed a governing body to tell me to. Remember qualifications are only one part of the equation to a good, professional instructor. I know several with a vast array of qualifications, it does not make them very good.
    James

  23. I think Ben P’s issues are the main concerns here as if one paid the fees and then was asked to take down a TRX or told would be on a council list but then wasn’t, would make a mockery of this whole thing. Perhaps we should push for no fees for 12 months until all parties can be sure whatever is agreed will work.

    Back to my first comments which were I don’t think trainers would be too concerned if they had to pay maybe £100 per year perhaps more if in return they got something back. Maybe some frames to attach TRXs to and we’d probably feel better about the fee. Again, we should be careful one thing is to say parks are public places but to run a business in one is probably different. Paying a fee might be OK if it is clear this is a fee for a specific service not a tax. Our taxes mean we should be able to use a park for our personal use but the fee (licence) can represent having right to train others for money is this public place. I totally get how frustrating it would be to be approached and asked to take a TRX down as one steps is dog poo or slips on a banana skin – priorities… but back to the issue licence fee or no fee? And if a fee, how much? What would be fair and what should the councils be asked to provide in return?

  24. James

    Surrey Heath Borough Council are asking £15 per HOUR !

  25. FitnessProfessionalLikeYou

    Why is Beverley Boon paying such a high fee?
    Why did she not refuse to?

    Why are we all putting up with jobs that pay peanuts?
    And with extremely high running charges?
    I doubt many other professions would put up with our working conditions overall.

  26. What a load of baloney!!!, good job I can use the beach (below high tide level of course), where does it stop, will running clubs be charged for using public footpaths & roads, sailing / diving instructors for using the sea. what about all the local schools & football clubs, even if they are only contributing a nominal fee to cover strips, balls & equipment i.e. none profit making, in a legal sense they are still paying & therefore the club / team would need to pay a license fee!
    REPs you don’t need to take action on our behalf or insist that only REPs instructors are allowed!!! that would fall foul of restrictive practice laws anyway. REPs should be arguing against ANY fees being instigated as even a nominal fee sets a principle.

  27. Connie

    Darren said “And if a fee, how much”

    How about zero?

    If I take 1/2 dozen different clients to different parks for a run on an irregular basis that could come to a couple of grand.

    What exactly is the fee for? The ‘right’ to train someone in a public place? Paying a fee to take a client in a park does NOT increase professionalism, and frankly, if that’s how anyone here is measuring professionalism can I humbly suggest you re-evaluate how you assess your own and others’ professionalism?

    I pay council tax already. Quite alot. My clients all pay council tax. Parks upkeep is covered already.

    As Richard correctly pointed out, this amounts to an open spaces tax.

    The harder I work, the more I pay in tax already – and with inflation rising as rapidly as it is our spending power is reducing month on month.

    When the congestion charge was brought in in London it was promised that it would reduce congestion – while it did to certain extent in the centre of town, as any cab or van driver will tell you it increased congestion around the perimeter of Zone 1. In other words, it just displaced it.
    Those hit the hardest were those whose lively-hoods depend on driving in town – tradesmen, delivery drivers, carers etc along with all the small businesses that suffered lost trade – many went bust….there’s a long list.

    Those that benefited most were Ken and his bureaucrats and the administrators of the hugely bloated and wasteful scheme.

    For anyone on here in favour of being charged for using public spaces, what do you think of a proposal to charge trainers a ‘licence fee’ to comment on public internet forums – they are, after all, public spaces, right?

    By commenting, while having a link to your website, you are effectively ‘carrying out business’.

    How does £350 a year grab ya?

  28. Mark Durnford

    Utterly ludicrous. Yet another Council initiative to squeeze more money out of it’s population. This will be nothing short of stupidity from any Council that decides to pursue it. It can’t be policed much like their pathetic “we will fine you if you allow your dog to foul this area” threats that also are quite clearly never enforced. Maybe if any councillors used the park to maintain an active lifestyle themselves they would already know this?…………

  29. Jude B

    So will this fee also apply to Girl guides, scouts and churches as they all use parks for picnic and other activities. If it applys to one group then all others must also apply otherwise this would be seen as discrimination.

  30. Outrageous! Agreed we all pay rather a lot in insurances, taxes, various memberships and licences but its all relative.
    This scam sorry proposal begs the question just how are the local authorities going to monitor this situation? What next are they actually going to do next, write the fitness programme or regime for us? Oh and of course that would naturally incur be another charge for that! Lol.
    If the local authorities begin to charge for this, what next?

  31. I forgot to mention, how about charging Nannies & childminders who take their children to feed the ducks & play on the swings – the park wardens could take DNA samples to see if the children are with their parents or are in fact being looked after by other professionals, (and therefore a license fee would be applicable !!)

    Please someone out there with a brain take this up & fight this – discrimination, restrictive practice, abuse of human rights (probably none of these apply but there must be a suitable challenge somewhere!!).

  32. sarah-jane

    I cant see the problem for group sessions we all have to pay for studios this just levels the playing field. In my local park and on the seafront there are so many circuit classes/military fitness and group sessions its getting ridiculous. We make money from using these spaces it only seems fair we should pay something towards it. Personal trainers with one client cant be asked to pay as it would be unenforcable and also rarely encroaches on the public use but group sessions? Come on guys man up and pay.

  33. Michael Van-Dongen

    I feel this is completely disrespectful to all PT’s out there who are now going to face a yearly fee for use of a public park! of which everyones TAXES already pay for. This feels like another scheme to squeeze more money out of people who have to work hard enough to gain recognition and even start earning serious money, especially with the recession about. Next thing you know they will start charging per square ft! The whole essence of an area being called public is that it is for the public! not to squander and think of ways to bite into people who are helping change lives. This will be very detrimental to people who like exercising outside and also for the PT’s who are trying to incorporate a fun session outside when the weather is okay (of which does not come across very often i might add). Maybe if our climate was constantly nice and there was a growing problem with PT’s over crowding the parks then yeah maybe… but this is just not the case. PT’s already have to fork out extensive fees for pretty much any qualification we get. Having this bombarded on top will deter people away from wanting to use public places, especially if they have to pay out even more money. From personal opinion it’s just the case where this has been identified and seen as a way of getting that little bit extra out of PT’s. I would propose a protest if this goes through it’s disgusting and not an epidemic!

  34. Caroline Turner

    The council should be paying us for training people in the park! we are keeping the population healthy thus easing the strain on the NHS. I also believe that having people such as burly ex marines doing PT in the park must be a deterrent for muggers and those engaged in criminal activity. Parks have become much more wholesome places since the outdoor fitness explosion started. Perhaps the councils would prefer that the parks were just used by the more traditional users such drug dealers, robbers and those cruising for sex.
    There seems to be a perception that fitness trainers earn big bucks. Yes those with wealthy celebrity clients do. Their business is unlikely to be affected much by being charged to use the parks, as the said wealthy celebrity client would probably not be too bothered by the extra costs passed on to them.
    It is those lower down the ladder who will suffer. Outdoor personal training is a very unpredictable business affected by the weather and also the finances of the less well off clients. In case it has not been noticed there is a recession going on, and most people apart from the fat cats and council bosses are noticing a significant drop in their disposable income. Basically if I passed on the costs of paying to use the parks to my clients then a lot of them would stop training with me. If I absorbed the costs myself then it would not really be financially worthwhile for me to keep on working in the parks.
    Also I can imagine that a lot of the costs for the fee would go on administration and enforcement, and as it will not be financially worthwhile for a lot of trainers to carry on training there may not be much money made from charging fees. Therefore the scheme could end up costing more then it makes in revenue!
    So a message to councils in London. ‘ Just leave things alone. It could turn out to be just another costly layer of beaurocracy that will mainly affect those on the lower end of the financial scale and discourage them from training. For the Matt Robert’s and Madonna’s of the world it will make little difference. Please don’t begrudge those who though personal hard work and effort are managing to make a bit of extra money in these cash strapped times while keeping the population healthy.

  35. Parks are suppose to be a public space for people to enjoy and because of a greedy council wanting to earn extra money they do not seem to want anybody using their parks anymore. Whats next?? Are they going to charge a group of school kids playing football after school?? We live in a society where obesity is a big problem and we are trying to help reduce that. Stop this obsurd charge and do some decent work in your council!

  36. Darren Hamilton

    Typical Hammersmith and Fulham Council!
    How dare they, when most PTs using the parks are probably paying council tax in the first place!
    Hammersmith and Fulham sold of most of the public facilities to the private sector back in the 90s!!
    Research in the USA (Pediatrics Vol 117 No2 Feb 2006),
    Indicates that Ethnic and Socioeconomic status may contribute to low physical activity and obesity.
    I used to lecture for the YMCAfit and we taught our students that money was not a barrier to exercise!!
    Is health and fitness to become only for the elite?
    By the way, didn’t Jean Ann Marnoch also work and lecture for the YMCA???

  37. Unfortunately as unpalatable as this action may seem I expected it was on it’s weary way. Parks and such are supposed to be for the public but we lose the “public” privilege when we are running a business that makes a profit on council or otherwise maintained areas. Somebody always seems to want their pound of flesh. One of my loves is teaching swimming but I have never been able to teach privately in a “public” pool. Very silly since so many need one to one lessons. Certainly when we are able to use such facilities the rates charged seem too high. If this has to happen charging bodies should consider lower rates for people training one to one and higher for large groups where there would be greater impact on the area and a higher potential income. Personally I think this will drive unscrupulous and underqualified trainers underground. After all whose to say who are friends and who are in training. Suz.

  38. Isn’t it good to hear so many passionate people wanting to have their opinion. The councils it would appear have no chance. On the other hand I am reading rather angry replies, which doesn’t serve us. Here is my considered reply for what it’s worth.

    There is no doubt in my mind now reading comments that councils should, that is should, charge for trainers to use parks for personal trainers to run their business and make money. Paying your council tax doesn’t cut it. We are running profitable businesses from public spaces.

    However, if they insist on allowing only REPs registered trainers – not on. If they restrict how many trainers can be allowed licences – not on. If they refuse a licence because there is already a trainer running a similar service on the park – not on. If they cannot show how the money raised has or will contribute to the better upkeep of the parks – not on. On the other hand, if they use the money raised to fund health and fitnes awareness in the area, fund people less able to afford personal training or showed a desire to positivey contribute to the health of our great nation – game on. But they probably can’t and won’t and therefore for these reasons I believe it is right to fight them; not because it is greedy or just another tax or in any way wrong to charge us. But because they would not be able to fairly manage such a program and therefore the public becomes disadvantaged since PT offers such a life-line for those needing help with their fitness. An in the absence of them showing sufficient ability to support such a program – based on some of the stories above the health and fitness of the communities surrounding such parks should come first. And to continue to allow free use until such time ‘we’ can see fair and effective management and a clear return on such licence fees seems the ONLY reasonable outcome. And therefore my rejection is based on councils inability to fairly and effectively manage what they suggest as opposed to because it is wrong.

  39. I think this is really really bad.. They cannot expect pts to pay £350.00 pa to train the public in a local park. How are they going to monitor it???? Not Happy about this at all. I CERTAINLY WONT BE PAYING!!!

  40. You poor guys in Hammersmith & Fulham. Another £350 to add to your already huge losses, just because you chose an altruistic career that helps people avoid heart attacks, strokes, obesity and dementia. Come to Bracknell Forest where we have miles and miles of open space and nobody will charge you anything to use it, but watch out for the Thames Valley Police because they love their speed cameras and if the council can’t get you, the police will. They are all in with each other and they will get your money somehow.

  41. tictac

    It is unbelievable, it makes me think there should be a Union for Pt’s or fitness instructors, or GEI’s, Reps doesn’t really seem to be doing much for us…
    It is the same music over and over again: government, big companies, corporations are making it impossible for anyone to be self-employed, they are killing the small businesses, they are forcing us to close down so that they can only survive and we can all work for them, it’s the new form of slavery!!!
    And this is happening in all sectors not just in the fitness industry; we work hard, sweat and at the age of 40 we have aches everywhere for all the physical stress and all just to earn peanuts!!
    I’m so angry, we need to do something, we need to make our voices heard!

    • Totally agree with you Tictac. I think REPS should take up more of a union role and fight our corner in such matters. REPS tells us that they want us to be true professionals but how can we be considered this when most of us doesn’t even earn the so called national average of £25,000 pa!
      This park fee will be just another cost we will have to add to our other costs such as insurance and CPD courses.

  42. JimBob

    You think thats a lot of money, you should investigate how much Sunderland City Council are charging!!??!? It’s not like the North East is steeped in spare cash either.

  43. It is as ever another poorly considered and unhelpful approach to raising cash and hopefully someone will see sense and realise that the costs far outweigh any benefit of such a scheme. but you can’t count on it.
    However, it just makes it ever more important that trainers invest in developing their business skills to build up a business that can withstand such challenges as new costs and changes in the economy.
    One of the reasons, not the only one of course, that lots of PTs have taken their sessions outside is to escape the hefty contract fees and restraints experienced in the clubs and gyms.
    Ultimately it’s a fact, further reinforced by the passionate comments on this topic, that many PTs aren’t bringing in the income they need or want, making another £350 cost seem pretty painful and unfair. How great would it be to build up your business so that £350 wasn’t an issue, regardless of the rights and wrongs of such a charge?
    Personally, I don’t want to be at the mercy of others. I prefer to be in control of my business and it has only been by investing in my business “know how” that I’m firmly in the driving seat and well on the way to achieving a more financially robust and rewarding business.

    The difference that PTs can make to the quality of life of their clients is immensely valuable and has repercussions that go way beyond just that individual. Being broke or just over broke shouldn’t be the price a PT pays for the priviledge of doing such rewarding work. Altruistic work as it was called in one of the posts above does not automatically equal low financial reward. But the only person who can do something about that is the PT.

  44. Pingback: Councils wish to charge Personal Trainers to use public parks…. | markdurnford

  45. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three emails
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