Swimming stars of the future in Holmfirth have been stung by a sudden increase in pool fees.
Members of Holmfirth Harriers Triathlon Club join two swim sessions at Holmfirth Pool and pay a £25 monthly membership fee to Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL).
The swim sessions have been included in the monthly fee until now but last week KAL informed members that from Monday, February 1 extra charges would be imposed.
Harriers member and triathlete Joanne Bailey-Taylor, 44, said members had been told they would have to pay an extra £5.80 per session or increase their monthly fee to £29.95.
“It’s like we are being blackmailed,” said Netherthong mum-of-two Joanne. “It’s punitive, short sighted and unfair.
“It seems like Kirklees Active Leisure is penalising us because we are a popular group.”
The group has around 20 to 25 people at each session – many of them Triathlon Club members – and Joanne said: “KAL stands to make quite a lot of money over this.”
Joanne, who has used the pool for about five years, said the instructor-led sessions on Monday and Friday nights were originally run by the triathlon club.
They had since been taken over by KAL but were still seen as triathlon sessions
Joanne said KAL had given no explanation over the increase in fees which she said only applied to the two swim sessions not other activities at the centre such as aquafit or yoga.
“We have tried to speak to the managers at KAL but we’ve been told they don’t talk to customers,” she said. “We think our group is being discriminated against because we have worked hard to get our numbers up.
“The Friday session is for families and whatever happened to the Olympic legacy? We should be encouraging children to get involved in sport and keep fit.
“With the swish of a pen KAL has removed all that. It’s unjust and unnecessary and we want an explanation.”
A Kirklees Active Leisure spokeswoman said: “Kirklees Active Leisure continually review the products and services we provide to all customers. KAL offer a wide range of instructor / coach led sessions for adult swimming and, on review, triathlon sessions were only offered at two out of the nine pool sites operated by KAL.
“KAL membership currently includes the Aquatic Fitness products such as Swimfit, Aquafit and Aqua Combat. However, the specialised swimming sessions delivered by a qualified coach have not been included in the membership and, as such, the triathlon sessions were not consistent with the majority of the specialised coached sessions being offered to other users within KAL.
“KAL explored a range of opportunities to provide consistency for all users and a decision to provide triathlon within the membership was agreed. This, however, would be as a Plus Membership which allows members to access all KAL facilities and sessions including the new My Ride studio at the newly refurbished Stadium Health and Fitness Club – all for little over £1 extra a week.
“The current members were all provided with a letter prior to changes in membership and also given vouchers allowing them to attend a further six sessions free of charge. There would therefore, be no need to change any memberships for a period of two months”.