Court closures put on hold for six months
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor
Squash players at the David Lloyd Club in Gidea Park, Essex, are celebrating tonight after learning that plans to close the courts have been put on hold.
Campaign leader Laura Northeast was enjoying a family meal in a restaurant when she heard the news from delighted fellow members.
She said: “I was having a meal and the phone kept ringing with messages and texts that the plan to close the courts has been delayed for six months. It may only be a stay of execution, but it’s great news after fighting our corner.”
The news follows a series of contradictory messages that emerged from David Lloyd Clubs on Friday. CEO Glenn Earlam announced that courts would have to make way for the introduction of a new fitness circuit called Blaze, but that he would look at ways to lessen the impact at Gidea Park, where coach Niall Engerer has tripled the membership from 70 to more than 200 in little more than a year.
The same evening, club management told members that the courts were definitely due to close on September 10th.
“Now this,” said Laura. “I hope that in those six months David Lloyd Clubs head office can take a close look and see what a great sport we have and that, if supported properly, that squash can be a great business model.”
England Squash Chief Executive Keir Worth revealed earlier today that he was in regular contact with Mr Earlam and that they were planning to meet soon to discuss plans to strengthen the position of squash across the David Lloyd empire.
Laura added: “I want to thank Squash Mad for leading such a powerful campaign on the website and also on social media, and really fighting for the future of our sport.”
Presumably, DL management will be keenly monitoring the introduction of their new Blaze routine at other clubs to see if it turns out to be the money-spinner they hope for.