Leisure centre memberships ‘accepted across council area’

Carrickfergus Ampitheatre (file photo)  INCT 07-043-tc
Carrickfergus Ampitheatre (file photo) INCT 07-043-tc

Membership of individual leisure centres in Carrick, Ballymena and Larne is valid across the Mid and East Antrim area, councillors have heard.

The update was given during last Monday night’s meeting of the MEA Operational Committee during a discussion on leisure centre income.

Addressing queries on the varying price of membership across each of the legacy council’s facilities, head of Leisure, Arts and Culture Bernie Candlish said: “There is an agreement within the three main leisure centres that they will each accept membership from any of the other centres.”

Pointing out that each of the legacy council’s leisure centres had a “very good offering”, director of Operations Philip Thompson added that Carrickfergus Amphitheatre in particular had benefitted greatly from refurbishment work in recent years.

Last month, the local government authority indicated that prices across the three legacy council areas would be harmonised from April.

It followed a inquiry from a resident of Carrickfergus, who pointed out that while seniors could swim for free at Larne and Ballymena’s centres, they are required to pay a fee in Carrick.

“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,” a spokesperson for the council said.

Meanwhile, figures provided to councillors in January indicated that while income was slightly down for each of the centre budgets, expenditure was also down, and the overall net cost was within budget.

In terms of memberships, there were different types in each area, with 1,462 in Larne, 1,600 in Carrickfergus and 1,277 in Ballymena.