New swim times making waves

Banbridge Leisure Centre.
Banbridge Leisure Centre.

Banbridge District Council says it is “regrettable” that changes to its swimming pool programme may have an impact on some users.

On Monday, February 9, Banbridge Leisure Centre introduced a new pool programme aimed at “introducing significant benefits and improving accessibility for users”. Banbridge District Council says the new programme, utilises the main pool space in a “much more effective way”.

A Council spokesperson said: “Public users will now benefit from having more sessions where the whole of the main swimming pool is allocated for their enjoyment. For example, time when the public have access to the whole main pool after 6.30pm will more than double.

“The lane swimming facility for public use will also increase to 31 hours per week, a rise of 33%.”

The Council explained that providing swimming tuition “always has been a priority” as demand for it is very high.

“The centre will now be able to facilitate approximately 170 additional places for young people each week which will also significantly reduce waiting times to get onto the programme” said the spokesperson.

“Council swim teachers are also now delivering one to one lessons for children and adults plus offering group lessons to children with disabilities and it is hoped the new programme will allow this provision to increase.”

The spokesperson said Banbridge Amateur Swim Club has been working with the council to reschedule all of their traditional evening slots to week day sessions in the early morning and afternoon, times when public demand is at “its’ lowest”, allowing evening sessions to be freed up for public use.

“To facilitate the new changes the pool will be closed to the general public for two hours each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon.

“Regrettably these changes may have an impact on a small number of individuals however it is anticipated the increased opportunities for pool usage made possible by the new programme will prove a positive and beneficial service for the community.

Regular pool users have voiced their concerns about the new times including Pamela Craig who posted on Banbridge Area News facebook page that she was “devastated” by the changes. She said: “I have been going for a swim straight from my work for over 20 years. It is so unfair that limited hours are offered to the public rate payers.”