York swimming pools usage was increasing

Yearsley still second most popular facility in City

Waterworld - closed by the York Council this month

Waterworld – closed by the York Council this month

Figures released today, by the York Council under Freedom of Information legislation, cast further doubts on the wisdom of jettisoning the Yearsley swimming pool.

The figures reveal that last year Yearsley had 118,611 users compared to 110,231 at Waterworld (which has now been closed by the Council) and the new York Sports Village.

The latter, in its first full year of operation, had 110,218 customers making it the least popular swimming facility in the City.

Swimming pool attendances and subsidy costs Click to enlarge

Swimming pool attendances and subsidy costs Click to enlarge

The new pool does, however, seem to have attracted some additional customers as total swims in the City (excluding private and school based pools) rose from 508,125 in 2012/13 to 522,65 last year.

The figures also reveal that swimming receives a £1/2 million subsidy each year from taxpayers. That is relatively modest comparison to historical investment levels.

While Yearsley is the most expensive pool to operate, it doesn’t enjoy any cross subsidy from other activities – like fitness and studio work – which accounted for most of the income at the other pool sites.

Without the cooperation of Nestle, who own the surrounding land, it would be impossible to increase the range of sports catered for at the Yearsley site.

All in all, closing both Waterworld and Yearsley and replacing the facilities with a single – sports village style clone pool – does increasingly seem to be a major misjudgement by the Council.

Residents are clearly looking for a wider range of water activities and locations in the City.

Sky Ride local in York this weekend at York Sport village

Sky ride

A series of inclusive Sky Ride Local rides will be taking place in York thanks to a partnership between British Cycling and Sky.

Rides will take place on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 October from 3pm until 5pm on the 1km purpose built cycling track at the York Sport Village on Hull Road

Get Cycling will have a fleet of adapted bikes for people to test out so everyone can take part.

Children aged 8 and above and adults can ride their own bikes, or use one of the adapted bikes.

Children aged under 8 are welcome to use tow bikes, trailers and frame seats. All riders are required to wear a helmet.

To sign up for one of the free, fun Sky Rides go to www.goskyride.com/York

5,500 cyclists took to the streets of York on September 14 for the first ever Sky Ride.

Blow for Sports Village hopes. Community Stadium to be delayed?

The Council has announced that it will no longer be funding an athletics track at the Sports Village on Hull Road.

The facility was to have opened this year.

The proposal to establish a sports village – which also includes swimming pools, 3G football pitches, a fitness suite, a outdoor cycling circuit and spa facilities – was agreed over 3 years ago and most of the facilities are now in use.

Athletics stadium Sept 2013

However, the provision of a new £2 million athletics stadium was to be the final jewel in the crown.

The intention had been to maximise the use of shared facilities such as the refreshment area, physiotherapy, spa and changing rooms.

Now the Council has decided to refurbish the University of York running track on Heslington Lane which is nearly 2 miles away from the Sports Village. The Heslington/Fulford area already suffers from traffic and parking issues

The implications for the running costs of both facilities remain unclear as does the financial commitment of the Council to the whole Community Stadium project.

A spokesperson for the Labour run council has claimed that the new site will be “cheaper”.

However, the athletes are claiming that the Council has agreed to subsidise the York Athletic Club for “5 years”.

Who has agreed such a subsidy, with what restrictions and for how much remains a mystery?

Behind closed doors logo

This major change in policy was taken at another behind closed doors meeting, so taxpayers are being kept in the dark

Moving the athletics track from the Huntington Stadium was an essential precursor to work on the new stadium starting.

It now seems that athletes will leave Huntington in late 2014 prior to occupying the refurbished University track in 2015.

Completion of the Community Stadium has already been put back to 2016 and further delays cannot be ruled out.