A LEISURE centre has said it was surprised to be accused of charging too much for its pool by a county swimming group.

Vivienne Hewitt, who represents Worcester County Swimming Association (WCSA), said Freedom Leisure would not allow the group to hire the pool at Perdiswell Leisure Centre for the six days a year it needed to host competitions citing loss of income from swimming lessons as a reason for refusal.

The swimming group said it was forced to hold its competitions in Wolverhampton due to high costs.

Freedom Leisure hit back at the accusations and said it must make the pool available to as many people as possible and it was not possible to accommodate the club for so many weekends in a busy January for the centre.

Freedom Leisure said it was surprised by the comments made by Worcester County Swimming Association this week as charges had not altered from its previous bookings and Perdiswell had already been used by the club for an event in January.

A spokesman for Freedom Leisure said: “As operators of local community leisure centres our priority is always to support as many people as possible with being active.

“We sincerely hope that our customers can appreciate that in very popular facilities such as Perdiswell it is always difficult balancing this; however it is our view that the balance we are striking between local community use and use of the facilities as a competitive venue is appropriate.

“It simply wasn’t possible to accommodate all their requested dates for 2020, which would have resulted in the closure of the main pool, teaching pool, sports hall and one fitness studio for essentially three weekends of four – especially as we are also hosting the School Games in the same month.

“In addition we also offer ongoing support to 24 local schools with swimming sessions and ensure we continue to provide nearly 2,000 local children with swimming lessons, so pool time is in high demand.

“We must make sure that the general public have their fair share of access amongst the other important activities that we hold at Perdiswell Leisure Centre.”