Chron readers split on state of Virgin Active gyms in Northampton after complaints

The Virgin Active gym at Riverside Retail Park
The Virgin Active gym at Riverside Retail Park

The state of the Virgin Active gyms in Northampton has certainly caused a stir, with Chronicle & Echo readers seemingly split on whether they are worth the money or not.

Negative feedback about the Riverside and Collingtree branches are being assessed 'at the highest level', according to Virgin Active, after numerous complaints on its Facebook page.

Issues range from the pools being closed during the school holidays for maintenance, neglected showers, and overcrowding at the gyms which many users consider among the most expensive in the town.

But some people on our Facebook post defended Virgin Active, saying it is the pools are being looked after, the rest of the facilities are clean and they are much better than other gyms.

The most 'liked' comment was from Alex Alexandrou, who said 'people will complain about anything' and there have been warnings about the pool closures 'for weeks'.

"Commenting as a member of the Riverside Branch. We use most of the facilities, the studios are great and we use the spin studio," he said.

"Like what’s the problem? It’s like people can’t get over a slight inconvenience and won’t accept when they want to take out essential maintenance."

'Alex Rm' replied: "Mate there are five gyms in Northampton alone that are in a better state than Virgin and the cost is £15-£20 a month, with a lot better equipment!"

Zoe Cook said the pool is closed but because they are replacing the filters, adding: "I’d rather swim in a pool that’s clean in my opinion!"

But Marcus Knight replied: "A well-programmed complete pool management system change could and would be done over a series of nights and brought back online overnight with no disruption to visitors in an efficient high-value venue.

"Don’t allow them to pull the wool over your eyes. If it’s closed it’s cheap!"

Shauna Marie Brennan also defended Virgin Active: "I’ve been to budget gyms before and have recently moved to Virgin Riverside and think it’s so nice!

Colette Humphries added that she 'could not believe' the criticism: "I only joined at the weekend and myself and my children were so impressed with the facilities that we signed up there and then."

And Abbie Atkins wrote: "I love it here still and have been a member for many years. It was refurbed and then the prices were put up!"

READ MORE: 'The facilities are shocking!' Unhappy Northampton gym members take to social media to complain

READ MORE: 'We are sorry': Virgin Active responds to barrage of complaints about 'shocking' Northampton gyms

However, many Virgin Active members echoed complaints, such as Donna Woolmore, who said: "Ludicrously overpriced. The pool is taken over by swimming classes, changing rooms are like a crèche, as is the cafe.

"The spa is filthy. [You] can never park or get into the classes, it’s a joke."

Sarah Boot added: "[It] was a fantastic place, lost the majority of the good PT’s (personal trainers), [the] place is dirty at times. What did it for me is the attitude of the management, it is terrible."

Dale Wright wrote: "I've been going there for 10 years and it does need a complete overhaul especially showers and some of the equipment needs replacing/updating.

"There is a lot of competition now [and] they aren't keeping up, it is not worth joining if you only use the gym floor.

"[It's] unfair to complain about the pool/spa maintenance as they have done all they can with information and apologising in advance."

Lawrence Barker commented: "The service is not great! I felt robbed at this place."

And Lee McCrum said he left last month due to the 'horrible experience': "Rude arrogant members of staff on the shop floor, never respond to a ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon’! Never smile, chat or ask about how your training is going.

"[The] kit is old and run down, requires replacing. [The] showers and changing rooms are filthy at peak times. The worst part of this gym is the lack of membership control, they don’t care, just pack them in!"

Tim Chambers summed it all up by saying: "A lot of the criticism comes from members that have seen a decline in standards over the past few years, quality PT's leaving, more broken equipment and increasing membership costs.

"A lot of the praise comes from new members who haven't experienced the gym at its best. Virgin needs to reinvest in the club."

A Virgin Active spokesperson said: “At Virgin Active, we are constantly listening to our members about our services and we will continue to listen around how they would like us to improve the facilities at Virgin Active.

"We are sorry to hear that some members have had negative experiences, this is being assessed at the highest level and will feedback to those affected in due course.”

READ MORE: 'The facilities are shocking!' Unhappy Northampton gym members take to social media to complain

READ MORE: 'We are sorry': Virgin Active responds to barrage of complaints about 'shocking' Northampton gyms