Prestonians have expressed anger at the ‘unaffordable’ prices and changed services at West View Leisure Centre since it relaunched.Advertisement
The Mayor opened the Ribbleton leisure centre to the public in September after a refurbishment including a revamped pool and new sauna health suite.
At the time, Better Partnership Manager Derek Jones said: “After a difficult 18 months for many, we are proud to unveil our newly improved facilities and hope they will provide a welcome post-Covid boost for our customers, meaning more local residents can enjoy the facilities in future.”
Read more: West View Leisure Centre reopened by Mayor of Preston Javed Iqbal
However locals have expressed fears that people in east Preston will be priced out of using the leisure centre.
Joey Afrin Black, who lives in Fishwick, said: “I am furious both on a personal level and for my community.
“We are one of the most impoverished areas in Europe, a city on a river and they have not only got rid of the children’s pool, they now expect us to pay £10 an hour for a swim. Even the cinema is cheaper and this is about public health and child safety.
“When I asked about the prices, West View could only offer an off-peak membership for slightly less than £10 – but this would be no use to working families with children at school.”
A central Preston resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It is unaffordable. They’re private gym membership prices. My partner and I are both working, and £15 for an adult and child swim isn’t really affordable on a regular basis.”
Further complaints have been made about changes to services including the removal of women only swim sessions in the evenings, and the closure of the small pool.
In a statement posted to the West View Leisure Centre Facebook page, Better blamed the small pool removal on a lack of money from Government, and urged customers to join the company in lobbying for more funding.
Responding to the post, Dave Jones said: “Not good enough. Gone downhill big time.”
Larissa Brierley added: “Better have completely failed to support the local community for parents and young kids, by removing the kids pool.”
Read more: 100-length swimming challenge raises funds for Preston mental health service
A spokesperson for Better said: “Following the challenges that we faced during the pandemic, including enforced lockdowns and having to operate at reduced capacity, we have had to restructure the way we operate West View Better Health Leisure Centre, to ensure it remains viable.
“The £10 adult entry pass now offers access to all the facilities at the leisure centre, from the pool to the gym and health suite, for a whole day. Children pay £5 for entry and we also offer a 30 per cent price reduction for concessions. We think this compares favourably to the cost of an adult cinema ticket at £8 or child cinema ticket for £6.50 to watch a single film.
“Regular users would benefit by signing up for monthly membership where rates are £30 for a full adult membership, £24 for an off-peak membership and £18 for a junior membership.
“Ladies only sessions are available on Monday mornings and Monday afternoons and Friday mornings.”
Blog Preston approached Preston City Council but a spokesperson declined to comment.
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Have you visited West View since it reopened? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.