CALLS have been made for plans to increase the cost of swimming lessons to be dropped following the death of a teenager in open water.
Redditch Borough Council is proposing to increase the cost of learning to swim by 3.3 per cent next year from £60 to £62 for ten weeks of lessons at the Abbey Stadium.
But Coun Carole Gandy said the council should instead keep the fees the same or consider reducing them following water safety incidents in the past year.
These included the death of 15-year-old Richard Fellows in the River Arrow in March.
“There are a number of leisure things where we have held the price. If there are certain ones where we are quite happy to hold the price, I would have thought in particular junior swimming would be something where we would hold the price and accept on this occasion it is the right thing to do,” she told a meeting of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee.
“If we actually held the price, or if anything slightly reduced the price, it would show it was more than just words and how much we want people to learn to swim.”
Coun Mike Braley added: “Although there is no guarantee about safety on the water it would clearly be a positive move. None of us would want the death of a child on our conscience because we thought there were easier courses of action to take.”
But Coun Phil Mould, responsible for leisure, said he did not feel the outcome of previous incidents was related to swimming lessons.
“I believe we should encourage juniors to swim. But I don’t think it would alter the fact of those deaths.”