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Swimming Pool Scene COMMERCIAL MARKET REVIEW


ABOVE: The increased popularity of private Learn to Swim lessons and aquatic fitness classes brings with it reductions in the amount of un- programmed water time. Pic: Scottish Swimming / Neil Hannah.


with overall occupancy levels at around 25 per cent of capacity, real pressure remains during peak usage periods, particularly Monday to Friday 5pm to 8pm. This is when multiple competing interests require the same pool space at the same time.” In terms of provisions, Chris believes that there has been a move towards more programming of water space in the last ten years: “The increased popularity of private Learn to Swim lessons and aquatic fitness classes brings with it reductions in the amount of un-programmed water time. Adult swimmers can no longer just show-up for a casual swim; they have to work around the pre- programmed activities. This coupled with ever more hectic lifestyles makes fitting a swim into a busy schedule even more challenging,” he comments.


NEW POOLS Parkwood Leisure recently opened a new 25m, six lane main pool and learner pool with play area at Rushcliffe Arena centre in Nottingham. The pool replaced the 1960’s built Rushcliffe Leisure centre and visitor numbers have more than doubled since it opened in January.


Chris adds: “In the future I think pools will continue to become more flexible in their design, with variable depth and changeable layouts to ensure greater diversity of usage. Timetables will become more programmed to ensure a great array of activities are accounted for.” Chris goes on to explain that increasing costs continue to put a real challenge on the viability of swimming pools. Rising energy and


Public Pools In England


• Diving Pools: 50 • Learner, Teaching or Training Pools: 1,233 • Leisure Pools: 293 • Lidos: 712 • Main or General Pools: 2,790 • Total number of pools: 5,078 *Active Places Data © Sport England


40 Swimming Pool Scene COMMERCIAL MARKET REVIEW


ABOVE: Leisure providers have introduced an element of professionalism across the pool sector and this has led to a more polished and customer focused delivery of swimming facilities. Pic: Freedom Leisure.


staffing costs, coupled with a desire to keep any price increases to a minimum, are forcing leisure operators to programme pools for maximum revenue opportunities, rather than more customer choice. “It’s still very difficult for any swimming pool to generate enough revenues to cover its basic costs, which means most are subsidised by revenues made elsewhere within the leisure centre, such as leisure memberships, or still through local authority subsidies,” says Chris. “The real cost of a public swim, can be as high as £10 per person per session, which is more than twice what’s currently charged by leisure centres, hence the need for revenues to be subsidised.”


COMPANY CONTACTS FREEDOM LEISURE


Tel. 0845 337 4040


www.freedom-leisure.co.uk FUSION LIFESTYLE


Tel. 0207 740 7500 www.fusion-lifestyle.com


PARKWOOD LEISURE Tel. 01905 388 500


www.parkwoodleisure.co.uk


THE LEISURE DATABASE COMPANY Tel. 020 3735 8491 www.leisuredb.com


SCOTTISH SWIMMING Tel. 01786 466520


www.scottishswimming.com SPORT ENGLAND


Tel. 0345 8508 508 www.sportengland.org


SWIM WALES


Tel. 01792 513636 www.swimwales.org


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