Family swim proves costly

PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 November 2009 | UPDATED: 12:19 10 June 2010

THIS?is a copy of a letter sent to the director of Leisure Services at East Devon District Council, regarding Exmouth Swimming Pool. During the half-term holiday, my husband and I (both pensioners) decided to take two of our grandchildren, aged three and

THIS?is a copy of a letter sent to the director of Leisure Services at East Devon District Council, regarding Exmouth Swimming Pool.

During the half-term holiday, my husband and I (both pensioners) decided to take two of our grandchildren, aged three and six, to the pool. We checked with the Exmouth reception and were horrified to learn the cost would be £1.80 per child and £4.80 for each adult, although a family ticket would be only £12. Neither we, nor most other families, can afford this sort of money for approximately one hour's entertainment.

The receptionist advised us the pool is a trust of which EDDC is a partner and that, although the Government is granting children and pensioners free swimming, EDDC has decided not to participate in the scheme as it will not get the 'whole of the cost' refunded.

If a swimming pool is open then it must be staffed regardless of how many customers it has - ie reception, life guards, cleaners etc must be adequate for maximum participants. Therefore, even if the full cost of the concession cannot be reclaimed, it costs no more for staffing. The administration involved in reclaiming subsidies can therefore be offset by the amount that can be reclaimed.

It is advocated by the relevant departments in Government that we should all be taking more exercise and that adults and children alike are becoming 'couch potatoes' and obese and this scheme was set up to offset the cost to the National Health Service.

We checked with our family who advised us that Saltash in Cornwall charges £1 for the six year old and the other child plus pensioners are free. My other daughter in Lymington, New Forest (a popular retirement area), said their local pool has a one-off payment of £2 per pensioner with children free. These are just examples, I can obtain many more.

It does seem that all council decisions are made on the production of numbers and, when the EDDC decides it wishes to sell off the area of land that includes Exmouth Swimming Pool at some time in the future, it will produce figures to show it is under-used, when, in fact, we, the council tax payers, are not being given the chance to benefit from a nationwide scheme set up by the Government to help us become healthier.

Please do not say you cannot afford it when £250,000 of our council tax was used to appeal against a boundary decision before it was actually made.

Mrs Sue Jerram,

Flat 20, Marina Court, Douglas Avenue, Exmouth.

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