Calls For Council To Rethink 33% Swimming Pool Price Rise

normandy pool_1600x900The Council’s Director of Community Services. Penny Penn Howard, says she will “look again” at proposed price increases at the swimming pool after a councillor said it would put old people off staying fit.

The cost of most activities at the Council-run pool and sports hall will be rising by above the current inflation rate of 2.1%.

Chairman of the Community Services Committee Richard McCarthy said they had to balance the books and there had been “substantial work” undertaken to analyse the cost of running each session.

But Cllr Gordon Bilsborough pointed out that individual swimming session for older people and under-16s would be increased by 33%. That’s a rise from £1.50 to £2.00 per hour.

He said elsewhere, the Council was trying to promote healthy activities for senior members of the community, in order to keep them out of social care.

The price at £2 may seem small, said Gordon, but when you add in the £1.50 cost of the Buzza Bus transport each way, it’s £5 per session, a significant cost to someone on a state pension.

But Richard said there was a balance to be reached and that price for an hour’s swimming didn’t seem outrageously expensive.

He said he would bet there weren’t many places in the country where that price would be sustainable.

The cost of Active Scilly unlimited gym use will also rise from £25 to £30 a month.

Penny Penn Howard said they were under a lot of pressure to make every session pay for itself and some senior sessions had fewer participants, meaning they cost more to run.

She said the Sports and Leisure Manager, Tess Lloyd, had consulted people who use the sessions and they were happy with the cost if it meant they could keep the activity going.

A rate rise of at least 5% for Sports Hall hire has also been put forward.

Cllr Mike Nelhams said that some Chairmen of junior sports clubs had told him they weren’t using the centre because it was too expensive.

Penny said she wasn’t aware of this, but added that they couldn’t match the lower price of other facilities like the Church Hall.

She said she would go back and discuss both of these matters with the sports staff.

Penny also said they were trying to get a ‘spend to save’ loan from the Council to put in more solar panels and better heating, to reduce overall energy costs at the facilities.

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