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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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Health fears raised over Barrow leisure centre changes

INCREASED charges and reduced opening hours at a leisure centre could be having an impact on Barrow’s health problems, it has been claimed.

A0522554
FALL IN NUMBERS: The Park Leisure Centre

Figures revealed to councillors showed 120,977 people visited The Park Leisure Centre, in Barrow, from April up to the end of September, compared to 141,549 for the same period last year.

The fall in users comes after fees for the centre were increased in April and swimming pool opening hours cut by 13 hours a week.

Councillor Ray Guselli highlighted the 29 per cent drop in the use of the sports hall at yesterday’s Barrow Borough Council executive committee meeting.

He said: “Although there is a very small increase in the income there is a substantial reduction, 29 per cent, in people using the sports hall.

“I just wanted to highlight that maybe these price increases are having an uneven effect on our policy of a fit and healthier Barrow and should we review these prices if that is the situation?”

Despite the reduced footfall, revenue at the centre has risen by four per cent from £304,967 up to the end of September 2011 to £318,118 at the same point this year.

Last year the centre’s astroturf pitch was closed, which cost hundreds of bookings, while reduced swimming times have resulted in people choosing to swim elsewhere.

Ahead of yesterday’s meeting, centre manager Margaret Wilson told the Evening Mail: “We have seen a drop in usage – particularly around swimming amongst youngsters. Because we’ve reduced opening hours there is less time available. The price increases have appeared to be a real issue for some people.”

At the meeting, Cllr Guselli asked if reserves could be used to reduce the prices, but borough treasurer Sue Roberts said that the majority of reserves were already committed.

Barrow Borough Council leader, Councillor Dave Pidduck, said that the reduction in usage was a concern, but that reducing prices at the centre would not necessarily help those who had health problems.

He said: “Obviously that is something that we are all concerned about because there are such differences in terms of health in the borough.

“Life expectancy for men is certainly much less in some wards than it would be for others.

“I think the problem is that the people that we need to target are not necessarily the people who are using the leisure centre.”

Have your say

Amazing that people can be so ignorant as to make a discussion on local government spending personal. All this talk of the "powers that be" is ridiculous and cannot even be vaguely supported by fact. The PLC offers good value for many and costs are in line with other local council run facilities. Measures need to be taken to subsidise central government spending cuts. So perhaps instead of ill- founded speculation and the usual "bigwig" bashing, people could enter into an intelligent debate on the nature of spending cuts.

Posted by Onlooker on 18 November 2012 at 14:17

Re The Park Leisure Centre Management-on 16Th November 2012@11-30.
I entirely agree in what you say about some of the factually incorrect posts on the leisure centre.May I add that the majority of negative comments,in my opinion,emanate from people who are happy to sit behind a keyboard and snipe-without having the acumen to write a letter and have it published in our Evening Mail with their name and address as courage of their convictions!.

Posted by Ramon Harrison on 17 November 2012 at 20:07

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