LEISURE: Reverse these ‘ludicrous’ fees

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‘Helping people make healthy lifestyle choices’ is supposedly at the top of the agenda for Active Northumberland, Northumberland County Council’s service arm responsible for sports and leisure facilities, including the Swan Centre in Berwick and the Willowburn Centre in Alnwick.

So we wonder how it can justify huge price rises and the removal of concessions for children, students and OAPs, which only encourages people to stay at home and limits the use of facilities to only those who can afford them.

These disgraceful changes have seen the bills of some users double from £16 to £32 a month to use facilities we have already paid for through council tax.

If Active Northumberland is looking to raise funds then it will find it has shot itself in the foot as users vote with their feet and use the range of private facilities available in the area, or hop over the border to centres in Duns or Eyemouth, which are now far better value for money.

This is the second controversy to hit Active Northumberland in 12 months.

Earlier this year it was forced to go cap-in-hand to the county council for a £1million pound bailout.

The financial management of this organisation is typical of a Labour-run council which has allowed borrowings to reach nearly £1billion while cutting essential services.

We urge Active Northumberland and Northumberland County Council to think again and reverse these ludicrous changes.

Guy Renner-Thompson,

Conservative Candidate for Bamburgh Ward,

Roderick Lawrie,

Conservative Candidate Norham and Islandshires Ward