Swimmers hit out at ‘disappointing’ London Aquatics Centre price rises

The London Aquatics Centre in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

The London Aquatics Centre in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - Credit: Archant

Swimmers and gym-users have criticised the London Aquatics Centre for increasing its prices by up to 71 per cent in some cases.

Designer Alice Strazzeri, 42, from Hackney Wick with two-and-a-half-year-old son Leo

Designer Alice Strazzeri, 42, from Hackney Wick with two-and-a-half-year-old son Leo - Credit: Archant

Costs were raised across the board last month as part of an annual pricing review with an off-peak casual swim now costing £4.95 for an adult – a rise of £1.45.

A group exercise session, which includes pilates, yoga or water workouts, has risen by £5 to £12 a session for those paying as they go – a hike of 71pc.

A spokeswoman for the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), which helps run the centre and consulted on the price rise, said the move was to help support running costs and said prices were still lower than in other Newham pools.

But the hike has already hit some families hard.

Designer Alice Strazzeri, 42, from Hackney Wick with two-and-a-half-year-old son Leo

Designer Alice Strazzeri, 42, from Hackney Wick with two-and-a-half-year-old son Leo - Credit: Archant

Tamara Chorenka, 53, from the Isle of Dogs, said: “I’m upset, but what can I do. My son wants to go to the Olympics one day so I have to take him swimming every day.

“I don’t have a job at the moment so sometimes I cannot eat, my daughter helps me pay for his lessons.”

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Designer Alice Strazzeri, 42, from Hackney Wick, said of the increase: “It’s disappointing, but it’s still much cheaper than it used to be when we lived in Barnet,” she said.

“We’re quite used to having to pay too much for swimming lessons.”

Swimmers can use the same competition pool as the Olympians of London 2012

Swimmers can use the same competition pool as the Olympians of London 2012 - Credit: Archant

But Natalie Marcus, 26, who works at Discovery Children’s Centre, in High Street, Stratford, believes the prices are still reasonable despite the hike up.

“I’d prefer if there hadn’t have been an increase, because I thought the idea was keep the price low for locals,” she said. “But it is a really nice pool, and it hasn’t put me off.”

Since the venue opened to the public in February 2014, more than 1.2 million people have visited the centre with 3,000 local school-children now using the pool on a weekly basis.

The centre is also the training base for diving champion Tom Daley and home to the Tom Daley Diving Academy.

An LLDC spokeswoman said: “In all cases the price of a swim at the London Aquatics Centre remains comparable with other leisure facilities across the borough and east London.

“For example, in other Newham pools the cost of an adult off-peak swim is £5.20 compared with the price of £4.95 to be charged at the London Aquatics Centre.

“The additional revenue accrued will help to support the day-to-day operational and running costs of the venue and will enable us to maintain top class aquatic facilities and services for both the local community and elite athletes.”

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