Pensioners protest price hike for membership of Barkingside swimming pool

Pensioners Len Anness and Alec Kushway are angered by their Early Bird membership of the Fullwell Cr

Pensioners Len Anness and Alec Kushway are angered by their Early Bird membership of the Fullwell Cross Swimming Pool increasing - Credit: Archant

At least half a dozen pensioners are dismayed following a hike in the cost of their preferred membership at a Barkingside swimming pool.

Redbridge Vision, the council's leisure arm, raised the monthly cost of its five-day senior Early Bird Pass for Fullwell Cross Leisure Centre, in High Street, from £13-a-month to £16 on May 1 this year.

Emails seen by the Recorder confirm that this is set to increase further to £18-a-month in 2020 and £20-a-month a year later.

Marios Michael, 65, is among at least six swimmers in their senior years who had opted for this membership and who are outraged at a disproprotionate price hike.

"We're talking about a load of pensioners at the end of the day," he said. "A lot of them go down there for medical reasons."

He added: "[Last year] there was only about a five per cent increase in the fee but now it is now gone up to more than 20pc.

"They are expecting us to be happy with that - would you be happy with a 28pc increase in your council tax?"

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He explained that he and five other avid swimmers he knows will each have to fork out around £204 to renew their annual membership fees which last year cost them £160 - an average increase of £44.

The Recorder understands that the over-60s are able to swim for free on weekday afternoons between 1.30pm and 5pm, in accordance the Redbridge Labour administration's 2018 manifesto pledge.

But Alec Cushway, 79, said that this time slot does not work well for elderly residents.

He said: "A pensioner has got plenty to do in a day when he has got no partner.

"So that time in the middle of the day is precious for me." "The Saturday and Sunday is for clearing the house out and preparing for the next week.

He added: "We need a swim in the morning - it helps us."

Redbridge Council has been contacted for comment.