Scores of fitness fans face being left out of pocket after the director of a new gym “went awol”.
Hybrid Hove Fitness was due to open within weeks at the former Sports Direct gym off Portland Road in Hove – with reports it was being run by former Olympic gold-winning decathlete Daley Thompson, who now lives in Hove.
In the past months, its Facebook page has been offering life memberships for £29.99.
But on Friday, people who had signed up were sent an email saying the director of Hybrid Hove had disappeared and the opening is paused.
Brighton and Hove News understands this is Matthew Payne, who is listed on Companies House as the sole director and owner of Hybrid Fitness Hove. He is also listed as the director of several other Hybrid branded companies.
Daley Thompson himself is not listed as either a director or owner of any Hybrid branded fitness companies.
Anyone with queries was directed to email firstname.lastname@example.org – which is now sending an auto-response saying: “Any fees that are owed would be subject to the awol director of the company placing the club into administration to then be claimed.”
The email said its Canary Wharf gym had also closed “indefinitely”, no further fees would be taken and concluded: “We unfortunately cannot offer more information at this time.”
Hybrid Fitness Hove has not yet been placed into administration, which leaves prospective members with no way of getting their money back.
One member, Jacqui Swift, said: “A lot of people had paid to join and been put on hold from September then October then the last email said January.
Meanwhile, Hybrid have deleted Hove from their main website.
I’d been looking forward to using it but was waiting as the date kept getting pushed back
“Everyone who has joined will have paid a deposit. There’s no mention of return.”
The update sent to members on 2 December said: “It is with regret and a heavy heart that we inform you that the construction of Hybrid Fitness Hove has been paused.
“The director of Hybrid Hove has gone AWOL (Absent Without Leave) and has not been upholding their responsibilities to the project.
“We are currently taking all necessary steps to address this situation and mitigate any potential long-term impacts.”
In November, an email claimed the delays were due to “legal issues around the lease”.
Mr Thompson runs fitness classes from another Hybrid branch in Putney. He has been contacted for comment.
Hybrid Fitness Putney said the company was hoping to still continue the reopening, and said someone would get in touch with more details, but none had been received at the time of publication.