An OAP who regularly uses the gym has criticised a price hike which could see him fork out an extra £234 a year.

For the past 14 years Chris Tennyson has been attending New Start sessions at Loughton Leisure Centre.

The retired printer attends three times a week on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays to work out and socialise.

When Mr Tennyson recently went to the gym he was told by a member of staff the entry fee was being increased from £3.60 to £5.10 in April.

While the increase may not seem enormous, over the course of a year it will now cost a regular gym goer £800 to work out three times a week.

The Ealey Court, Chigwell resident said: "The gym was taken over by Places for People Leisure and all of a sudden they have taken the decision to put it up to £5.10. It is ridiculous.

"It is completely unfair to do that to people this age. We are told to go the gym by our doctors. It is a principal thing.

"When I go to the gym between 12pm and 3pm there is no body there.

"They should have told all the people by email or letter."

Places for People Leisure took over the district's leisure centres in 2017 on a 20 year contract.

At the time customer service portfolio holder Helen Kane said it would "improve opportunities for all members of the community to participate and enjoy a more active and healthier lifestyle.”

When asked how increasing the price for elderly people to access the gym by 41 per cent would improve their opportunities to enjoy a more active life, an Epping Forest District Council spokesperson said: "Our leisure centres offer a range of membership packages to suit all users. Places for People have very friendly staff on hand to work with local residents and find a program that can best suit their needs.

"As part of the council’s contract with ‘Places for People’ it was agreed to rationalise costs to create a simpler and fairer pricing structure across all of our leisure centres. Some pricing tariffs have been discontinued, but there are many other membership deals and packages to benefit people of all ages and abilities.

"We would urge anyone who is unclear about what is on offer to have a chat with the team at their local sports leisure centre to find the best deal for them."