Rent hike prices Weightwatchers out of Derry complex

Weight Watchers leader Betty Cairns displays a healthy take on the traditional recipe for Pancake Tuesday. (0903PG61)

Weight Watchers leader Betty Cairns displays a healthy take on the traditional recipe for Pancake Tuesday. (0903PG61)

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A local businesswoman has been forced to find new premises for her business as the new ‘supercouncil’ hiked the rent by 300%.

Betty Cairns, who has ran weekly Weightwatchers classes at Templemore Sports Complex for over 28 years, said the rent increase was ‘too much to absorb into weekly costs.’

The cost of hiring a room at the ‘Complex’ was usually £72 a week for classes held every Tuesday and Wednesday and was increased to £192.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ Betty explained, “I simply could not run a business with such a high increase in costs.

“It would make no sense for me to rent a space going forward as the cost would not make any business sense.

“Thankfully, word got out that I could no longer hold classes there and I have been approached by Ardnashee College on the Racecourse Road.

“As a result I am now running my classes from space within their campus.

“Tuesday morning classes at 9.15am and 10.30am will run out of The Playtrail’s Eco-hut, while Wednesday classes at 4.45pm, 6pm, 7.15pm and 8.30pm (Men’s Only) will run in the school building, first on the right after the entrance.

“It seems a shame that a long-standing relationship with the Council has come to an end but I am hopeful that I can continue to provide Weightwatchers classes at the new venue to the hundreds of members who come every week.”

A spokesperson for Derry and Strabane District Council explained, “The new Derry City and Strabane District Council has standardised pricing structures across all leisure services and facilities.

“This policy decision is designed to ensure that rate payers are not funding private commercial enterprises through heavily subsidised leisure and sport prices.”