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Centre set to raise prices

PUBLISHED: 15:03 16 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:32 07 July 2010

Multi-million-pound sporting facilities in Breckland are set to raise prices - just one year after opening their doors.

The creation of a new leisure centre in Dereham and the expansion and refurbishment of a facility in Thetford was completed last year as part of a £66m Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deal.

Multi-million-pound sporting facilities in Breckland are set to raise prices - just one year after opening their doors.

The creation of a new leisure centre in Dereham and the expansion and refurbishment of a facility in Thetford was completed last year as part of a £66m Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deal.

It was hoped the new facilities would encourage people in Breckland to take up more sport, as well as provide a home for groups and clubs.

New figures from Parkwood Leisure in Dereham from the six months between August and January have revealed that total admissions are up 27pc compared with the same period in 2006/07.

The £8.9m building in Station Road includes a fitness and aerobics suite, sports hall, four-rink indoor bowls centre and six-lane, 25m pool.

Meanwhile, Breckland Leisure Centre in Thetford saw usage rates increase more than 6pc over the autumn and winter period.

But, despite an increase in the number of people using the centres, prices have been put up, so an Expressions member, who can use the gym, pool or take certain classes for free, will pay £1 a month more, taking the cost up to £32.

And there are fears the hike in price could leave some people unable to afford to use the plush new centres, or even put people off using them at all.

Andy Corcoran, operations director for Parkwood Leisure, said: “Our increase is below inflation. It's customer practice to review prices agreed with clients at certain times of the year.

“Prices are reviewed at all our centres across the country and some will go up more than others, depending on what is needed for the year ahead.

“We're not planning to expand. It's about the cost of living. We still have bills to pay and, if those increase, then our prices will.

“It would have been unfair of us to charge the customer more when we opened. If you say we could have predicted the inflation, we would have overcharged customers. The increase is in line with figures.”

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