‘Short-sighted’ council gym membership changes sees sports hall use for five-a-sides no longer included

Councillor Derek Wann

An administration councillor has cancelled his local authority gym membership following a “short-sighted” change to how people are charged.

ANGUSalive, which runs Angus Council’s leisure facilities, recently wrote to customers advising them that sports hall and pitch use for football and basketball would no longer be included in the bActive membership, with standard charges applying from December 13.

However, hall hire for racquet sports such as badminton will remain covered by the membership.

Derek Wann, part of the Angus Council administration, said he has written to councillors on the trust’s board about the changes.

Councillor Wann said he had no idea about the changes until he received a letter about it last week.

He said: “I cancelled on Wednesday night. I’m not on the ANGUSalive board, but I am a councillor, and the first I heard of any of this was on Tuesday when a letter came through.

“I play five-a-sides but it’s no longer covered in the membership.

“But, badminton still is. The activities my children and wife take part in are still covered.

“I think it’s very short-sighted by ANGUS Alive.”

Changes have also been made to family memberships. At present, a family membership is £83, which is for two adults and unlimited junior membership.

From Wednesday, a family membership will be £73 for two adults and one child, and then increases by £10 a month for every child added to a membership.

Mr Wann said: “I fully understand ANGUSalive has budget concerns, and this was possibly seen as a way of generating more income as football is the most popular reason for people hiring a hall.

“But I think a lot of memberships will be cancelled and, as such, ANGUSalive will lose a lot of guaranteed monthly income. You might still get people playing five-a-sides but if a whole membership is cancelled and all they are getting is occasional hall hire or fees for classes, they will lose out long-term.”

A spokeswoman for ANGUS Alive said: “The changes are effective from Wednesday and there will also be changes to our family membership from January 1.

“The changes to sports hall/pitch use for sports such as 5-a-side, 7-a-side, basketball, bring us in line with the charging structures of other charitable trusts in Scotland.”