Leisure centre fees ‘will be standardised’ across MEA

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Mid and East Antrim Council will take steps to address an apparent discrepancy in leisure centre fees across the new borough.

The issue was raised by a Carrick resident, who is a regular user of the swimming pool at Carrickfergus Amphitheatre on Prince William Way.

The man told the Times: “At present I usually swim, as a senior, three times a week, which costs me around £250 per year.

“I checked the situation in Larne and Ballymena, and to my amazement I discovered that seniors in these areas can swim for free.

“It seems quite unfair that seniors in Carrickfergus are discriminated against because of their postcode, and indeed are subsidising seniors elsewhere in the expanded council area.”

At Carrick Amphitheatre, concessionary rates of £2 per session currently apply to over 60s, students (full time) and people in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.

Seniors can swim ‘free of charge’ at Larne Leisure Centre and Ballymena’s Seven Towers Leisure Centre.

Responding to the issue, a spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council indicated that prices across the three legacy council areas would be harmonised from April next year.

“We acknowledge the current difference in pricing for senior citizens to go swimming in our leisure centres,” the spokesperson added.

“We are conducting a review of the pricing structure and aim to standardise pricing and concession rates as we move forward in the next financial year.”