Leisure centre chain Better Leisure reveals it will reduce opening hours

Now cost of living crisis hits swimming pools: Leisure centre chain Better Leisure reveals it will reduce opening hours at more than 200 sites over winter after energy costs TRIPLED

  • Better Leisure said it was paying three times more on energy compared to 2019
  • Social enterprise said in September it had reduced temperature of pools by 1C
  • Bosses now say they will reduce opening hours at more than 200 of its centres 

One of the UK’s largest pool providers says it has been forced to reduce opening hours this winter due to high energy costs. 

Better Leisure, which operates 268 centres across the UK, said the amount it pays for gas and electricity has more than tripled since 2019 and is now equal to 25 per cent of the total cost of running each site. 

The chain announced in September it had reduced the temperature of its pools by 1C, and now says it will cut opening hours at more than 200 of its pools. 

Better Leisure, which operates 268 centres across the UK, said the amount it pays for gas and electricity has more than tripled since 2019

Better Leisure, which operates 268 centres across the UK, said the amount it pays for gas and electricity has more than tripled since 2019

The changes, which run from December to Easter, will vary for each centre and are ‘designed to minimise disruption and to avoid changes for schools and swimming lessons’, Mark Sesnan, CEO of parent company Greenwich Leisure (GLL) wrote in an email.

‘In practice, some centres will open an hour later or close one hour earlier on some days.

‘This will enable us to turn off lighting, plant and equipment at the time of maximum energy use, when it is coldest and darkest. This is also when we are least busy.’

Better’s pools – which include the London Aquatics Centre in Stratford, are among Britain’s cheapest, with memberships costing around £25 a month. 

GLL said its energy bills had rocketed three times prior to the pandemic.  

‘Heating a public swimming pool complex now costs over £300,000, up from under £100,000,’ it said.

Earlier this month, Swim England warned more than 100 pools are under threat of closure or a reduction in services in the next six months. 

The chain announced in September it had reduced the temperature of its pools by 1C, and now says it will cut opening hours at more than 200 of its pools

The chain announced in September it had reduced the temperature of its pools by 1C, and now says it will cut opening hours at more than 200 of its pools

Jane Nickerson, Swim England chief executive, said it would be an ‘absolute tragedy’ if the situation was allowed to deteriorate further.

She added: ‘Pools and leisure centres are vital parts of the community, improving the health and wellbeing of people of all ages.

‘They help reduce pressure on the NHS and social care system, saving more than £350m pounds a year – as well as being a place where people of all ages can learn a skill that could one day save their life.’ 

A government spokesman said: ‘We know many leisure centres and swimming pools are contending with major increases in running costs, which is why we have introduced the Energy Bill Relief Scheme.

‘It will mean they pay wholesale energy costs, well below half of expected prices this winter.’

In France, municipalities have been ordered to reduce water temperatures at public swimming pools by 1C as well as turn off hot water in toilets in public buildings.

Source

Related posts