Price rises fail to set the sport tills ringing

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PUTTING up the price of using of council run sports and leisure facilities last year, in a bid to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds, has failed spectacularly.

Instead of the extra £450,000 the measures were expected to generate, the latest indications are that income will be £350,000 short of the mark.

And that has dented hopes of generating income this year so councillors have earmarked £300,000 to keep the facilities open.

“The sports service is facing increasing difficulty in achieving both a balanced budget and last year’s savings,” according to the draft spending plan produced by Calderdale Council, now out for public consultation.

The closure of Elland swimming pool and the demand for more concessionary services has led to “sites under achieving income targets.”

“The additional £300,000 this year and £150,000 next year should provide the sport service with the means to set realistic budgets,” according to the draft spending plan.

- More use could be made of volunteers to keep Ogden Water countryside park and Jerusalem Farm campsite open.

The two council run outdoor attractions could even be managed by voluntary organisations as part of the council’s latest budget proposals.

While no changes are planned this year, savings of £160,000 to £200,000 from transfers could lead to six job losses in 2013/14.

It is assumed that voluntary organisations will be able to access funding for the attractions which are not available to the council.

- Council leaders have warned that the Victoria Theatre might have to stick to profit making shows in future.

Negotiations are underway with the hope of transferring the theatre to a new social enterprise in an effort to cut costs. But if this fails or is delayed beyond March next year, the theatre must “adjust its programming to reduce the risk of financial loss on any production,” according to the spending plan.