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Wiltshire Council invests £1.6m in gym equipment at its leisure centres
6:00pm Monday 17th March 2014 in News
Wiltshire Council is investing £1.6 million in new gym fitness equipment, with leisure centres linked to new campuses among the first to benefit.
The improved facilities will be partially funded by consistent pricing across all council-run leisure centres, ensuring users pay a clear and consistent set of prices whichever facility they use, or activity they choose.
From April 1, fees for using the council’s nine leisure centres will be the same for similar levels of facilities such as swimming, squash, sports halls and gyms.
The move follows similar harmonisation of charges for membership and block bookings at leisure centres since Wiltshire became a unitary authority in 2009.
Coun Jonathon Seed, cabinet member for leisure, said: “Wiltshire Council has been successful in retaining a leisure service for local residents, unlike many other local authorities; and we have largely held leisure fees and charges at the same rate since 2009.
"However, in the current challenging financial climate we want to continue to invest and improve these centres.
"By reviewing the fees and charges we will be able to do this and renew gym fitness equipment.”
Wiltshire's cabinet has agreed that revenue generated from any increased fees and charges can be used to fund new leisure equipment.
The first phase of this is £1.6 million purchase of new gym fitness equipment for both the first phase of campus leisure centres and some other leisure centres.
Coun Seed said: “With our harmonised new fees and charges we now have a pricing structure that is fair, offers good value for money and encourages people to stay active.
“This is the final step that brings fairness and transparency to charges for our leisure centres across the county – in effect eliminating any postcode lottery.
“Some charges have been reduced whilst some have risen, but the majority have stayed the same and so for regular users of our leisure centres – typically more than once a week – taking up one of the various membership options will further reduce the cost and give them other benefits.”
While the pricing structure is designed to be consistent across Wiltshire, individual centre managers will be able to promote sports or facilities at certain times to encourage more users into the centre during the daytime.
Some groups may also be offered reductions under the council’s charitable fees.
Corsham’s Springfield Leisure Centre, which was run by DC Leisure until 2012, is in the process of becoming part of the new Springfield Campus – the first of its kind in Wiltshire.
While the centre undergoes major refurbishment work this summer, fees will be discounted until the new campus is fully operational.
The council operates nine leisure centres across Wiltshire: Five Rivers in Salisbury, Amesbury, Corsham (Springfield), Devizes, Durrington, Marlborough, Pewsey, Tidworth and Tisbury.
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