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Keeping fit to cost more in Brighton and Hove
Sports fees will increase, seafront attraction fares go up and bowls clubs closed – but those on benefits will get discounts as part of town hall plans approved last night.
Brighton and Hove City Council believes a concessionary card giving 40 per cent discounts on sport activities will boost participation among the poorest.
But to fund it, regular users of its leisure centres will be asked to foot the bill, with increases of up to ten per cent in swimming, football and tennis courts.
Opponents claim it will lead to a drop-off in sport, just six months after the 2012 Olympics.
Green councillors voted for the plan but Conservative and Labour members abstained.
Geoffrey Bowden, chairman of the council’s economic development and culture committee, said: “I am pleased that we have found a way to encourage participation in sport among those who can least afford it.
“This scheme will contribute towards the Olympic and Paralympic legacy in the city.”
Council bosses maintained the revised sporting charges were below the regional average.
But Conservative councillor Tony Janio called the fee increases “shameless”.
Fellow Conservative councillor David Smith said: “I’m not interested in regional average. I’m interested in what’s happening in Brighton and Hove.
“When you start on 15p here and there, added up through the year, it puts people off.”
Labour councillor Brian Fitch said: “We will be holding our position until the budget as this forms part of that.”
He added the concessionary card was “worth trying to encourage”.
But Conservative councillor Vanessa Brown claimed she felt they could be “counter-productive” and put visitors off.
When discussing bowls, the council claimed the numbers playing the sport had fallen.
Three clubs with the smallest memberships will close by April – Dyke Road Park, Hove Park, and Hove and Kingsway Ladies.
The council will also stop maintaining five greens – two at Preston Park, two at Hove and Kingsway and one at Hollingbury Park.
This would leave one council maintained green for each club.
A majority of councillors on the committee approved the plans.
Swimming (adult) £4 to £4.30 (increase 7.5%)
Swimming (junior/60+) £2.40 to £2.55 (6.3%)
Swimming lessons £5.40 to £5.80 (7.4%).
All weather pitch £27.05 to £29.85 (10.4%)
Athletics £3.60 to £3.95 (9.7%)
Junior tennis £6.40 to £6.85 (7%)
New 50p charge for creche at Withdean and Prince Regent
Junior season ticket at Hollingbury golf course £115 to £95 (down 17.4%)
Adult single £2 to £2.60 (30%)
Adult return £3.10 to £3.50 (12.9%)
Child single £1.10 to £1.50 (36.4%)
Child return £1.60 to £2 (25%)
Senior single £1.30 to £1.70 (30.8%)
Senior return £2.00 to £2.60 (30%)
Family return £6.90 to £9 (30.4%)
For a full list of all charges see the Brighton and Hove City Council report here: www.theargus.co.uk/news/special/sportsandleisurecharges
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