Preston gym's first court hearing takes place as owner challenges closure order

A Preston gym has launched an appeal bid against a three month closure order that was sought by Preston City Council after its owner kept it open in spite of coronavirus restrictions.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 1:31 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th March 2021, 1:34 pm

The first hearing regarding the appeal took place before Preston Crown Court on Thursday.

Recorder Katherine Pierpoint directed that businessman Steven Todd could return to Preston Magistrates’ Court - which imposed the order last month - and ask them to reconsider it.

It comes days after Mr Todd, who runs Reps Gym on the Roman Way Industrial Estate on Longridge Road, Preston, appeared before the same court accused of flouting the closure order after police found him and other people present on the premises on March 11.

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Steven Todd

He denies the allegation on the basis he had entered the premises to clean and put rat poison down.

The current closure order, which was imposed by a district judge on February 5, is due to expire on May 4.

The council cited three aspects when they sought it - serious public nuisance caused by opening the gym, likely disorder and criminal behaviour.

It is understood Mr Todd wants to challenge the legality of it, and he argues the council’s response is “disproportionate”.

The gym has repeatedly hit the headlines after Mr Todd refused to abide by Covid legislation to close it.

To help limit the spread of coronavirus, gyms across England have been shut since November 5.

Since then, Mr Todd, 55, from Longridge, has been hit with fines, costs, and council notices, but claimed keeping his premises open was important’ for people’s mental health.

(proceeding)

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