‘Injustice’ over pool fees at the Meridian

A call has been made for pool fees at Louth's Meridian Leisure Centre to be lowered, for fear of 'limiting the potential' of young swimmers.
A call has been made for pool fees at Louth's Meridian Leisure Centre to be lowered, for fear of 'limiting the potential' of young swimmers.

A call has been made for pool fees at Louth’s Meridian Leisure Centre to be lowered, for fear of ‘limiting the potential’ of young swimmers.

Matt Clarke, committee member at Louth Dolphins Swimming Club who are based at the pool, said the fees club members pay compared to those paid by the public are an ‘injustice’ and create an ‘inequality’ among those who can and cannot afford them.

He took his concerns to a recent club commitee meeting and is urging East Lindsey District Council to lower the fees they charge the club, a reduction which would be passed on to Dolphins members.

But ELDC say the Dolphins are already well subsidised by the taxpayer.

“There was always a feeling of ‘it’s just the way it is’, but this is an injustice,” said Matt.

“We book the pool six months in advance, paying around £28,000, and our top swimmers pay £52 a month for effectively a few hours a week in the pool. The public pay around £30 a month for unlimited use, and although they can’t swim in the segregated areas, this is still a huge gulf.”

“There should be an alignment of fees as the costs are inhibiting the club, 93 per cent of our income goes on pool hire.

“Swimming should not only be for those who can afford it, it should be for everyone, I think the public appreciate any fee adjustment would be passed onto council tax but this is a fantastic club to get behind.

“We want to get as many kids as we can into the pool and we’re not talking a huge subsidy here.”

Matt said the club’s committee members ‘fully endorsed’ his proposals.

The Dolphins have been running for 25 years and helped launch the career of Olympian Kate Heywood. The club has been based at the Meridian since it opened in 2010.

The district council’s strategic development manager, Mark Humphreys, said: “The issue of Dolphins membership fees is one for the club and not the district council.

“Louth Dolphins has recently increased the number of hours in which they use the pool to 71 lane hours a week knowing the cost of this to their members.

“The taxpayers of East Lindsey already subsidise the Meridian Leisure Centre and this subsidy benefits the Dolphins as well as all other users.

“We have recently offered to meet with the Louth Dolphins to discuss what options there are in helping them to achieve their objectives.”

Do you agree with the current tariffs, or should the club pay less? Email your views to sam.kinnaird@jpress.co.uk.