Each swim costs council £4

COUNCIL taxpayers are subsidising every swim at Backwell Leisure Centre by more than £4, a new report has revealed

COUNCIL taxpayers are subsidising every swim at Backwell Leisure Centre by more than £4, a new report has revealed.The report, put together by the Parish Council Leisure Facilities Working Party shows the pool running at a massive loss, with local taxpayers picking up the bill.Now the working party is urging all parish and town councils in the district to write to North Somerset Council leisure bosses asking them to resolve the issue of costly Backwell Pool either by ploughing cash into upgrading it or building a new facility in the area.Working party chairman Bob Steadman said: "The fact of the matter is that it costs so much money to run Backwell Pool, but there is no way the council can put those costs on the price of a swim."Swimming is an incredibly expensive sport to run because of the costs of maintaining pools and heating them. I understand there are only two public pools in the whole of the country which make a profit, with every other one running at a loss and being subsidised by local authorities."Cllr Steadman, who represents Nailsea north and west ward, said the working party was now urging all parish and town councils to write to North Somerset asking purseholders to either spend cash on refurbishing Backwell or, if uneconomic, build a new pool elsewhere.They are also pressing the authority to meet with local swimming clubs to ascertain what type of facilities are needed and asking for an overall leisure facilities improvement strategy to be drawn up.Cllr Steadman added: "The only way to reduce the subsidy is to build a new pool which has modern heating and filtration systems and is more energy efficient. Finding the money for such a project would be difficult, and again, eventually fall on the tax payers."Nailsea Swimming Pool Interest Group has been campaigning for a new pool to be built in the town for a couple of years.The group has even secured outline planning permission for a scheme at the rear of the Scotch Horn Leisure Centre.North Somerset Council spokesman Nick Yates said: "The sports centres which we provide in North Somerset are very well used with some 1.3 million visits last year."These types of facility are very expensive to run. Using a crude calculation between what we spend at Backwell against the number of recorded visits, then a 'subsidy figure' of £4.19 is arrived at. All our pools are fully lifeguarded and there will be sports centres across the country where the 'subsidy' figure is much higher.


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