BADMINTON players who have been using the courts at Huddersfield Sports Centre for decades say it’s game over for them.
Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL) have announced there will be a 41% price-hike on their badminton lessons.
And the charitable trust will also be axing their current “badminton improvers” sessions and replacing them with more rigorous “pay and play” sessions.
None of the regular players are happy with the move and many say they will stop playing badminton at the centre altogether.
Jim Gillan, from Beaumont Park, told the Examiner none of the group wanted to have the new intense lessons with drills, techniques and tactics.
The 61-year-old said: “All we want to do is enjoy a game of badminton – not train to be Olympic competitors.
“And we don’t want to have to pay 41% more than we already do.
“We come every week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but when the Pay and Play sessions are introduced we won’t even be sure that if we turned up we’d even get a game.”
The price is currently £45 for a block of 12 badminton coaching sessions, but KAL will now charge £5.30 per lesson on a first-come-first-serve basis.
KAL have described the move as a “relatively minor programming issue” and say they are unable to comment on the matter until an internal investigation has been carried out.
But Jim, a retired director of policy for Blackburn with Darwen Council, said the players have been told their current sessions will be axed on March 15 – and they haven’t yet been consulted on the changes.
Jim, whose wife Ros also plays badminton at the centre, said: “We were told that KAL needs to make changes because it will be losing a £1.5m grant and from the outset everybody accepted that things couldn’t go on as they had been – but at the same time we are utterly opposed to KAL’s imposed change.
“We just wanted to talk things through with them and see if we could work something out that would be an alternative and they just sucked us into bureaucracy.
“We don’t matter to them and they don’t want to talk to us and they just think they know best.
“But they’re just throwing out long-serving and loyal customers and none of us want any part of it.”
KAL states that it’s vision is to get “more people, more active, more often”.
But Jim said none of the group – which consists of a range of ages from 18 upwards – want to take part in the new Pay and Play sessions.
A spokesman for KAL said: “This matter is being investigated internally and until this is concluded we will be unable to give a full statement.
“However, this is a relatively minor programming issue that is trying to bring a session in line with other activities provided by KAL.
“Discussions have been held with the National governing body for Badminton in England – Badminton England – and they are satisfied with the proposed changes taking place.”