LEISURE: New charges seem unfair

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An open letter to Lorraine Dewison, Chief Executive, Active Northumberland.

We are writing in response to an article about a new pricing plan for leisure centres, (Northumberland Gazette, September 22).

We are a group of Active Life members who are in the ‘OAP category’ and use both Alnwick and Rothbury gyms.

We are shocked and annoyed that you intended to discontinue the Active Life membership.

Northumberland County Council has already increased the membership three-year fee of £13 to an annual fee of £13 since taking over the running of the leisure centre.

Your new ‘fairer and simpler’ system seems to be absolutely unfair, based on the fact that you intend to offer concessions to those on ‘social benefits’ only.

As we are mostly aged 70 years-plus and not on any ‘social benefits’ we would not qualify for any concessions. Under your new proposal fee structure £32 per month would be too expensive.

This new system could be construed as ageism, especially as we benefitted physically from the use of the pool and the gym and Pilates. With Active Life membership we were allowed Wednesday afternoon and Friday morning slots in the pool and the gym, which tended to be quiet periods.

We request that you maintain the status quo as far as our existing membership fee is concerned, ie £13 annually and £3.60 per visit, as well as introducing new concessionary fees for those on social benefits.

B Trotter,

D Hinsaw,

Ms Greveson,

C Stephenson,

B Wood,

Rothbury