THE welcome fall in inflation rates recently does not seem to have had an impact on Wiltshire Council, which has seen fit to increase court fees for squash and badminton at Five Rivers by, in some cases, 59 per cent.

I was more than a little shocked this morning to find that I had to pay £6.20 rather than the £3.90 that had been the rate until April 1.

I asked the obvious question: why was there no information about these huge increases?

The staff on the reception desk (who all do their job so very well and with a smile to match) replied, somewhat apologetically, that there had been a notice on the glass panel advising that charges would go up but no further details were given.

Hardly the spirit of openness and candour.

Not content with this, the council has decided to abolish the discount for off-peak bookings, but I am sure that the relevant people have carried out a thorough price sensitivity analysis to justify this decision.

The reason for all this, supposedly, is to bring Salisbury's charges into line with the rest of Wiltshire's sports centres; yet another argument for breaking away.

Such an enormous hike in court fees is bound to have a negative impact on the number of people playing the game in Salisbury.

This at a time when England can boast both the men's and the women's world champions, which, elsewhere, is no doubt encouraging more people to take up the sport.

Bravo Wiltshire Council. Finger on the pulse as always.

Mark Dunning, Salisbury 

  • I HAD a day off work so decided to play a game of squash at Five Rivers Leisure Centre.

Last week this would have cost me £3.90. Today it was £6.20.

Wiltshire Council runs Five Rivers and they have a statutory duty to promote public health.

The health benefits of sport are well known; helping to reduce obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and improving mental health and wellbeing.

So how does Wiltshire Council encourage us to do more sport in Salisbury?

At a time when everyone is feeling the financial pinch, they hike up their prices by nearly 60 per cent.

The price rise is because they have done away with the off-peak tariff. But during the day, on a week-day, Five Rivers is hardly packed.

This morning I was the only person on the squash courts. The decision to implement a massive price rise during the off-peak period is more than misguided, it is complete madness.

Now even fewer people will access sport during these times and the income that the council receives will be even less.

This really is a lose-lose situation.

Paul McKinley, Salisbury