Our City Councillors, Ian Roberts and Keith Bentley, have received several enquiries from residents about changes being introduced to swimming pool entry arrangements for the over 60s. The key changes are effective from June 2019.
Through enquiries, we discovered that the change was agreed by the City Council Cabinet in October 2018. The Council's Chief Executive has written to one of the concerned residents with an explanation of the reasons for the change. Chelmsford City Council is one of only a few councils offering a swimming scheme of this kind. To continue providing this benefit, some adjustments needed to be made. The City Council are committed to keeping these sessions within our pool schedules, but in future they will only be available from 9am-12noon at Riverside and from 6.30-8.45am at South Woodham Ferrers, all for an annual payment of just £10. The age of eligibility has been raised to 65 (from 60), but existing members aged 60-65 can continue to use the scheme.
It has been disappointing to learn that the Cabinet neither consulted South Woodham residents, nor communicated the change, especially since, at the time, two of the members of the Cabinet were SWF Conservative Councillors.
We are concerned that it is unclear how any savings made through the change will be reinvested for the benefit of SWF residents. Ian and Keith are continuing to work on uncovering the real financial implications, and how any savings can be used for the benefit of South Woodham Ferrers council tax payers. We intend to keep information flowing about City Council decisions that will affect us here in our town and similarly represent our residents' views on such issues. We'll let you all know more once we have further answers.