A beloved gym in Caversham will shut permanently, with a cinema set to take its place.

Caversham Health and Fitness, based on Archway Road, announced today on its Facebook page it will not re-open.

The gym has been closed since late March, when the government ordered that all non-essential shops be closed to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

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A spokesman for Caversham Health and Fitness wrote: “We are broken hearted to have to say our club will not be reopening.

“Sadly, we have no option but to permanently close the doors at Caversham Health and Fitness.”

Plans were submitted by the Hermes Property Unit Trust late last year to replace the gym with a cinema but the developers also planned to replace the gym at another unit on the same road.

But Caversham Health and Fitness said it will shut for good due to coronavirus – with no confirmed date yet for gyms to re-open – and lack of communication from Hermes regarding the proposed new site.

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In the statement, the gym said: “We can’t tell you how sad it is that the doors cannot reopen, due to the pandemic and the termination of our lease.

“We have been issued a termination of lease and must vacate our premises on August 22.

“We have worked so hard over the past years to keep our club here for you and our community.

“Before the pandemic, there was hope for a bright future for Caversham Health and Fitness with the possibility of a new site, but due to the government closure and lack of communication from the freeholder regarding the proposed new site, we have had to make this difficult decision.”

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The gym also thanked its customers and staff, saying: “We have been so lucky to have your support over the years and to have had amazing staff and made such amazing friends.

“This is something that will never be forgotten.

“It’s not a decision that was taken lightly, each day we hoped for a miracle but no miracle came.

“We would like to thank you for your continued support during these difficult times, we are only sorry we didn’t get the chance to say goodbye properly. To us, this wasn’t simply a place to work, it was a second home.”

The cherished gym is set to be replaced with a ‘boutique’ three-screen cinema, if the council approves the plan, but neighbours, including Waitrose, have raised concerns about this proposal.

The cinema proposal from Hermes is part of a wider scheme approved at the St Martin’s Centre in March 2015 for retail shops, leisure, housing, green space and a car park.

There were calls for the health and fitness club to be replaced elsewhere in the development which were answered with another planning application submitted for a gym at a former adult learning centre on the same road.

However, this site now looks set to be taken over by a different gym, if the plans are approved.