Taunton Pool closure blamed for leisure slump as figures show facilities usage on the slide

Somerset County Gazette: Gym usage is down 7% across Tone Leisure's centres. Gym usage is down 7% across Tone Leisure's centres.

FEWER fitness fanatics across Taunton and Wellington are visiting the area’s leisure facilities, new figures show.

The number of visitors to swimming pools and gyms are on the slide, as revealed in figures collated by operator Tone Leisure.

Tone Leisure runs facilities at Blackbrook Pavilion, Taunton Pool, St James’ Pool, Wellington Sports Centre, Vivary Golf Course and Wellsprings Leisure Centre.

Usage between April 2013 and March 2014 is down by 72,891 visits across all centres on the previous year, with bosses pointing to the six-month closure of Taunton Pool during its revamp accounting for 65,000 of these.

There has also been a fall in gym usage, down by 7%, while casual swimming has dropped due to the pool closure.

However, there has been an increase in the amount of gym-goers shifting to group exercise, with class usage growing by 6%.

But despite the drop in visitors, the number of accidents recorded jumped from 749 to 814 last year.

The figures show Tone is currently £247,000 below budget – £133,000 due to Taunton Pool – for the year, but the operator says it has also spent less and has made £188,000 in staff savings.

Juliette Dickinson, Tone managing director, compiled the figures ahead of the Deane’s community scrutiny meeting on Tuesday (June 10), which will be looking at the operator’s overall performance.

She said: “The results show that the second half of the year has continued to be as challenging a period for the leisure contract as the first half.

“This is perhaps not surprising with major building works being undertaken at two of the centres.

“Swimming income has been of particular concern and is 22% down on budget for the full year.

“The contract has been affected by the closure of Taunton Pool for most of the second half of the year, although swimming is below budget at all other Taunton sites with swimming facilities.”

There could be another setback for swimmers as the Deane is currently investigating two poolside holes at St James Pool, exposing deep cavities.

However, Ms Dickinson added: “Now that the building works are completed, we remain optimistic that the business can be rebuilt and that new leisure users can be attracted to the refurbished facilities.

“We are very positive and have had positive feedback on Taunton Pool so we feel that we can start to grow useage.”

Comments (6)

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11:53am Fri 6 Jun 14

Somerset_BTGOG says...

What's next?

Shop reports sales drop once the store is closed!!!!!
What's next? Shop reports sales drop once the store is closed!!!!! Somerset_BTGOG
  • Score: 11

12:09pm Fri 6 Jun 14

Concerned Taunton says...

With this important usage and financial data, why are Taunton Deane Borough Council spending £5 million plus of taxpayers money to build another social swimming pool (with the addition of a spa) at Blackbrook?

I'd love to see the council's information on the commercial reality of any new pool and whether it will 'wash its face'. Bet Penny James, John Williams & co. haven't bothered with this crucial business research as it's easy to spend money when it's someone else's!
With this important usage and financial data, why are Taunton Deane Borough Council spending £5 million plus of taxpayers money to build another social swimming pool (with the addition of a spa) at Blackbrook? I'd love to see the council's information on the commercial reality of any new pool and whether it will 'wash its face'. Bet Penny James, John Williams & co. haven't bothered with this crucial business research as it's easy to spend money when it's someone else's! Concerned Taunton
  • Score: 5

1:11pm Fri 6 Jun 14

prickles says...

Maybe more people would use the gym if it wasnt so exspensive
Maybe more people would use the gym if it wasnt so exspensive prickles
  • Score: 13

6:50pm Fri 6 Jun 14

Dr Dave says...

But the premises and facilities don't just land there and support themselves you know, everything costs money!
But the premises and facilities don't just land there and support themselves you know, everything costs money! Dr Dave
  • Score: -1

4:37pm Sun 8 Jun 14

boliston says...

Not too worried about the cost of gym fees as I have a free "treadmill" right on my doorstep known as the pavement, and a free "excercise bike" known as my push bike which gets me to work each day avoiding the gridlocked traffic - i can however see that a pool could be useful for anyone who is not so keen on swimming in the river tone!
Not too worried about the cost of gym fees as I have a free "treadmill" right on my doorstep known as the pavement, and a free "excercise bike" known as my push bike which gets me to work each day avoiding the gridlocked traffic - i can however see that a pool could be useful for anyone who is not so keen on swimming in the river tone! boliston
  • Score: 7

3:43pm Tue 10 Jun 14

*Flick* says...

I would use one of their gyms if they had a creche facility that was open every day, in fact I would pay a lot of money for any gym in Taunton that could offer me that service. Sadly, not a single one does. Apparenty Blackbrook did offer such things, but only for one hour, two days a week. And only for children over 3.
Someone should open up a gym for parents with a fully functioning creche - I know many people who would become regular gym goers then. It would be a gold mine.
Until then I will stick to my exercise bike and DVDs at home!
I would use one of their gyms if they had a creche facility that was open every day, in fact I would pay a lot of money for any gym in Taunton that could offer me that service. Sadly, not a single one does. Apparenty Blackbrook did offer such things, but only for one hour, two days a week. And only for children over 3. Someone should open up a gym for parents with a fully functioning creche - I know many people who would become regular gym goers then. It would be a gold mine. Until then I will stick to my exercise bike and DVDs at home! *Flick*
  • Score: 3

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