You shall go to the pool - and prices won’t rise at midnight either says Fenland scrutiny committee
TORY run Fenland District Council is facing a crunch decision over whether to increase some leisure centre fees after its scrutiny committee threw out the proposals.
By tradition the overview and scrutiny committee looks at any proposed rises prior to a Cabinet decision and this year has decided enough is enough.
Councillor Pop Jolley, chairman of the scrutiny committee, said: “The committee members discussed the proposals and came to the view that at this point it would be wrong to put through any increases to leisure fees.
“It will now be up to the Cabinet to look at the overall situation and make its decision.”
Cabinet is due to make that decision at its meeting on December 15.
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Phil Hughes, head of leisure services, drew up the report in which he recommended “that prices be maintained at the current levels, with inflationary increases applied to those activities that are less price sensitive”.
Unravelling the details of the report, the committee discovered Mr Hughes was planning a 1.6 per cent overall increase in fees by targeting swimming: by raising charges for pool use, lessons and pool hire he estimated the council could net an extra �30,000 next year.
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“Despite the economic downturn the leisure service has managed to sustain income levels,” Mr Hughes told councillors.
However he cautioned that the prices charged “are already at the market level, with any significant increase in prices likely to lead to fewer participants and reduced income levels.”
Fenland Council’s three leisure centres at Whittlesey, March and Wisbech have around 750,000 attendances a year but lose money.
Monthly direct fees for using the centres are “higher than the average” and Mr Hughes had recommended these remain unaltered. The monthly fee in Fenland of �39.50 compares, for example, to �36 for Vivacity in Peterborough and �38.50 for Abbey Leisure Centre in Cambridge.