Preston gym owner loses appeal against closure order that was imposed after opening during lockdown

A gym owner who deliberately flouted Government rules in order to stay open says he will be pushed into bankruptcy by legal costs after losing his appeal against a compulsory three month closure order.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 1:00 pm

Reps Gym in Preston must now remain closed until May 4 as a result of the legal order imposed by the courts.

To help limit the spread of coronavirus, gyms across England had been shut since November 5, but Steven Todd, 55, from Longridge continued defying the rules claiming it was important’ for people’s mental health.

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Steven Todd

He says he now has “nothing to lose” and plans to appeal the decision again at the High Court.

Ironically the appeal came days after gyms were legally permitted to reopen.

Today he said: “They still wont let me open and are keeping order in place until May 4. The council says grant wise they wont give me a single penny.

“The costs will end up pushing me into bankruptcy but I’ve got to keep fighting. I wanted to clear my name.

“I’ve lost all faith with the country. These are young, fit people below the age of 40. The chances of them dying are virtually minimal. But many men that age are hanging themselves through depression instead."

Todd appeared at Preston Magistrates’ Court several times after Preston City Council issued prohibition notices for flouting Covid-19 restrictions, before a district judge finally imposed the three month closure in February.

People had travelled from as far as Liverpool to use his facilities during lockdown.

The authority cited serious public nuisance caused by opening the gym, likely disorder and criminal behaviour, but Todd argued the council's response was "disproportionate and heavy handed".

Judge Simon Medland QC, sitting with two magistrates, dismissed Mr Todd's case.

Mr Todd is back before the courts in July for defying a council notice and says he will “probably go to prison” on that occasion.

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