Residents up in arms about new 24-hour gym in West Ealing

The Daniels Family persuaded Ealing Council in 2003 to allow them to knock down their 100 year old department store on the Uxbridge Road in West Ealing and build a new one on the same site. Oh, and they were allowed to build 137 new flats on top of it. The flats got built in 2007 but Daniels declined to occupy the store space, as did everyone else for over four years. The space was boarded up until a few weeks ago. 

A gym is planning to open in the space in November 2011. On the face of it, it seemed better have some use of the space than to have the space unused. However we’ve just discovered that Ealing Council is to allow the gym to be open for 24 hours every day. Also the owners of the gym expect 6,000 gym members (paying £15 per month), and 600 of them using the gym after 10:00pm. However there are no plans to employ any gym staff after 8:00pm every evening. 

Clearly some of these gym users will drive to the area. But where would they park? There are CPZs to the immediate north and south and a very small nearby Council car park in Arden Road. 

Apart from the flat dwellers above the gym and five day time opening shops across the road no-one locally was consulted about the 24 hour opening of the gym. Local residents are livid about this. Not only have they had to put up with riots, looting, shootings, stabbings, violence, urinatings, late night noisy drunken revellers – now they have to put up with the comings and goings of 100s of gym attendees all through the night. 

A campaigning group objecting to the plans and the lack of consultation has been set up by local residents. Contact them at

 Eric Leach

14 September 2011

14 Replies to “Residents up in arms about new 24-hour gym in West Ealing”

  1. I agree that it’s a bit strange that the place will be “self serve” after 8pm (I would have expected a good gym to have someone available in case of injury) and that parking will be an issue. However the fact that lots of people with a positive mindset (if you’re working out that late in the day you must have a strong sense of commitment!) will be around that late may actually be a good thing. Don’t shoot me down for suggesting this! Those great big windows will mean that, if is as busy as they think it will be, there will be a lot of witnesses to potential trouble (see work of Henry Shaftoe, University of the West of England). I’d rather have that than a certain pub in its vicinity (small, dark, enclosed, dubious patrons). I loathe that big ugly building but I would rather see it being used than sitting empty or boarded up.

  2. Well said, Albertina. It’s better to have a gym than an empty boarded up shop or another fried chicken shop or a pub/bar. I’m all for having more (sober) people around late at night, and it’s highly unlikely that “100s” of people will be using the gym throughout the night anyway. Typical unbalanced over-reaction from West Ealing Neighbours.

  3. I tend to agree with the above post. Busy streets ate usually safer streets. This is, largely, a positive thing for the area. A gym isn’t a terrible thing, it could be put to worse uses. I say this as someone living 5 minutes away from it.

  4. I’m personally really excited about there being an affordable gym so close to home. The fact that it will be open 24 hours is I suppose a little strange but it gives people lots of flexibility and perhaps will encourage people who, for whatever reason, are awake during the night to lead healthier lifestyles (I’m thinking shiftworkers etc). I think, in reality, the number of people using the gym in the middle of the night will be minimal so I wouldn’t have thought there would be much disruption.

  5. It’s good to have a range of reactions to this new use of land. Only time will tell as to whether this 24 gym is a blessing or a curse to this part of West Ealing. Also, to be fair, my post was a personal post and its content doesn’t match the views of all West Ealing Neighbours’ committee members. One of the latter has joined the gym so WEN will find out how it’s functioning before Christmas.

    1. As Eric’s mentioned, I’ve joined (it’s way to close to where I live for me not to!).

      I did some quick research – this suggests that we’re paying a lot for gym memberships we don’t use. I found some other stats that suggest as many of 50-70 per cent of gym members don’t actually go.

      So, we might be looking at under 3,000 active(ish!) users. Spreading that over a whole week, and coupled with the fact that 20% of gym users use gyms 80% of the time, it doesn’t seem so bad.

      Also doesn’t help that the Residents Unite website is absolutely terrible in design and wording – what is an “Official Residents Action Group”?

  6. As the site has lain empty for over 5 years and the likely hood of any big name stores opening in that location leave alone Daniels dept store being virtually “ZERO”, the opening of a new mega gym, especially one that is affordable to the majority of the residents of our neighbourhood is to welcomed with absolute open arms. One of the ways i suppose The Gym group can maintain this low membership fee is by opening 24 hours thus maximising the use of the equipment. I can only say that the proposal can only benefit WEST EALING in bringing people in and making it an area associated with a 24 hr gym as opposed to an area blighted by reports of criminality. I hope it becomes a success and attracts people from a wide area into West Ealing….day or night!

  7. BEWARE!!!

    I live above one of The Gym sites in Vauxhall. The fact is that it is very cheap compare to the other gyms. However, it brings all sort of problems to the neighboring communities.
    First of all, as there are so many users attending this “affordable” place we are faced with increase in antisocial behavior from the bodybuilders visiting this place.

    Secondly, there is a massive problem with noise produced by the activities at the Gym., and I am not just talking about the music which does not seem to be a problem but the people use heavy weights and then throw them down which generate structural noise and sends excessive vibrations and shockwaves transmitting through the floor and into the building structure affecting the building structure and residents living above. It’s been proved that since the Gym moved to their St George Wharf premises the noise has intensified and got worst turning our lives into a misery, often keeping residents awake at night or waking them up in the early mornings as the place operates 24 hours.

    1. I’m sorry to hear about the problems you’ve had in Vauxhall – in West Ealing, even when it’s busy it’s not terribly loud – at least no louder than any other gym.

      I’ve also heard no reports of anti-social behaviour on the weights – it’s reasonably well staffed so I can’t imagine that would be a problem.

      As for ‘structural vibrations’, how on earth can weights being thrown down cause structural vibrations? I would really hope that modern building codes are built to tolerate such things.

      I think we have to be careful not to ‘fish’ for problems with this Gym, especially when no problems have been reported yet.

      1. One would hope that a new building built to house a department store would be so robust that the effects of heavy objects dropping on a floor would not be felt by those in apartments above. But I could see this being an issue in an older converted building.

        I think this gym is a good use of the space and although I don’t live nearby, whenever I’ve walked past it late at night it doesn’t seem very busy and I haven’t seen any antisocial behaviour outside. Hopefully the ground floor spaces will be filled with some useful businesses soon.

    1. With the vibrations to buildings on the Uxbridge Road caused by buses hurtling over its cracked surface (it was due to be resurfaced in 2007 but that was cancelled to save money, I believe), particularly late at night when the roads are free of traffic, it may not be easy to distinguish between the thuds.

      I have a lot of sympathy for anyone whose relaxation and sleep are disturbed by startling vibrations.

    1. It’s more like a goat track at the moment – the Uxbridge Road – full of cracks. It still hasn’t been resurfaced seven years after it was scheduled to be. I can feel the vibrations of buses minutes before they arrive.

Leave a Reply