Leisure centre costs for the poorest residents in Brighton and Hove should be frozen, Green councillors have urged.
Social enterprise Freedom Leisure runs seven sports and leisure facilities on behalf of Brighton and Hove City Council, with a discounted access available for families via a leisure card, a free of charge means-tested concession scheme.
However since fees and charges at the facilities are due to increase in the next year, Green councillors are pushed for the Labour-run council to renegotiate the contract so that leisure card holders are exempt from additional price rises in the future.
The case was made by Councillor Tom Druitt (Green, Regency) at the council’s Economic Development and Culture Committee at a meeting in Hove Town Hall on Thursday (January 12).
He said: “Under the Green administration we brought in the leisure card precisely to ensure all residents could access sports and leisure facilities regardless of their financial status.
“The services Freedom Leisure operates on behalf of the council are essential to the health and wellbeing of residents in our city and it’s very important that all residents in our city can use them irrespective of income.
“Going forward we are asking the council to renegotiate the contract with Freedom Leisure to enable the facilities to generate the income they need while still ensuring that sports and leisure activities are genuinely affordable to all.”
The Greens said: “Seven council sports and leisure facilities are operated on behalf of the council by the social enterprise Freedom Leisure.
“Residents on lower incomes are eligible for discounted access to these facilities via the leisure card scheme – a free of charge means-tested concession card which entitles card holders to up to 40 per cent off normal rates across all seven centres.
“However, with fees and charges for leisure centres expected to increase in the next year, Greens are pushing for the council to renegotiate the contract with Freedom Leisure so that leisure card holders are not subject to any additional price increases in the future.”