Surrey acrobatics centre expands into second gym

Prime Acrobatics will be officially opening the new facility in Camberley in early summer after increased demand in the sport.
May 1, 2024
A thriving Surrey fitness and health business is expanding into a second facility in Camberley to cope with increased demand.

Prime Acrobatics, which offers blend of gymnastics, acrobatics and circus skills to children and adults, has nearly completed the fit-out at Prova Court.

Dozens of jobs will be created when the new facility opens in early summer, giving a much-needed boost to the west Surrey local economy.

Property consultancy Vail Williams sourced the 16,421 sq ft (1,525 sq m) premises, formerly used as science laboratories, on the town’s Yorktown Business Park and secured change of use.

Prime Acrobatics, based at picturesque Heather Farm on Horsell Common in Woking since 2016, has taken a 15-year lease for an undisclosed sum.

A lengthy programme of works on the building included removing two-thirds of the first floor, which reduced the size to around 11,000 sq ft, but delivered the height needed for gymnastics and acrobatic equipment.

Some upstairs space has been retained for offices, a viewing area and a studio, with a cafeteria set to be added later.

Charlie Nicholson, Partner at Vail Williams based in Woking, said: “Prime Acrobatics is a valued and progressive client with whom we have been working for some years, including acquiring extra units at Heather Farm to facilitate recent expansion there, giving 35% extra space.

“The search for a new unit was complex, as any potential landlord had to be willing to consider change of use to Class E, gymnasium. Thankfully, at Prova Court we found the perfect premises, also being in an excellent location for easy public access.

“In a sense, this is a complete reversal of the current trend in which more properties are being acquired by life sciences organisations. This deal was all about helping people, particularly children, stay fit, active and healthy.”

Vail Williams’ Surrey Building Consultancy team also worked on the project for Prime Acrobatics after being instructed to prepare a schedule of condition to be appended to their new lease for Prova Court.

Senior Surveyor Nicki Rought said: “The schedule recorded the condition of the whole building, including car parking and yard areas. Having a schedule of condition on the lease helps protect Prime Acrobatics’ repairing liability at lease end.”

Prime Acrobatics was founded in 2012 by gymnast Chris Bowler, formerly a coach with the Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, and Clem Malcolmson, a now retired UK gymnastics stalwart.

The company has more than 1,600 members at Woking and many more on a waiting list.

Each week it hosts 33 preschool classes for 500-plus children aged four months to three years, 40 classes for 1,000 four to 11-year-olds, nine classes for pre-teens and teens, plus a selection of short courses each month for parkour (pre-teens and teens) and adult gymnastics/circus classes.

Matte Hart, Company Operations Executive, said: “We are indebted to Vail Williams for helping us to acquire our new larger facility, Prova Court, and we have been working non-stop to get it ready for action.

“We currently have 62 staff on our books and with the introduction of our Camberley facility we look forward to reaching more than 100 employees. Our current recruitment drive offers opportunities for full and part-time positions covering coaching, management and administration.”

Prime Acrobatics was commended by British Gymnastics and shortlisted for the National Community Club of the Year Award in 2019, 2022 and 2023.  British Gymnastics has endorsed the teaching of all circus activities.

Chris Bowler added: “We are proud to already be the home of one of most unique facilities in the UK with a blend of gymnastics, acrobatics and circus skills.

“Our varied class programme includes traditional gymnastics activities as well as tramp wall, parkour, juggling, aerial silks, trapeze, tight wire, teeterboard, Chinese pole and more.

“The Camberley facility will allow us to bring our unique programme to a new area and expand it in new ways thanks to the higher ceiling heights.

“Our ethos is simple – to give more children and adults the opportunity to enjoy exercise and benefit from living a healthy lifestyle and to help them challenge themselves to reach their full physical potential within a safe and happy environment.”