Concession price for disabled users could be on the cards at Dunstable Leisure Centre

The lack of a concession price for disabled users of the new Dunstable Leisure Centre was an oversight, Central Beds Council has conceded.

The council has admitted the error after a disabled resident contacted the Gazette to protest that the centre, which opened in June, did not have a pricing list for the disabled.

The Dunstable Centre

The Dunstable Centre

Mark Bilton uses the new £20.1m Leisure Centre on Court Drive, but has been unhappy with the pricing.

He said: “There is no disabled pricing list. When I questioned it with SLL [the council’s leisure provider] they said the reason was that they did not want to discriminate high earning disabled people, which I think is not right, there should be the option.

“They have a concessions price but it is only for over 65s low earners and students.

“Actually, people who are disabled are actually getting charged twice because when I go I need to have a carer with me, therefore I have to pay to use the facilities and the carer also has to pay. It is not right.

“I know that SLL manage and do the pricing but I do think Central Bedfordshire Council should be looking into it.

“I rang the council last week and spoke to a man who said he would look into it and get back to me, but I have not heard back from him yet.”

A spokesman for Central Bedfordshire Council told the Gazette: “We would like to thank Mr Bilton for bringing this matter it to our attention.

“It was never our intention not to offer disabled people a concessionary rate to use The Dunstable Centre, this was an oversight and we apologise to Mr Bilton.

“We are in the process of correcting this error and asking our leisure provider to update the relevant information about concessionary fees.”

A spokesman for Stevenage Leisure Limited (SLL), which oversees pricing, said: “SLL is currently working with Central Beds Council to review the Concession Policy to ensure the whole community is able to enjoy the facilities at The Dunstable Centre and all other SLL sites.”

The new building, called The Dunstable Centre, includes a gym, leisure facilities, a creche, cafe, Citizens Advice offices and the town’s library.

Mr Bilton added: “It’s great that they are looking into it, hopefully they do make the changes. It is really encouraging news, it is just a shame they did not do it from the start, it shows what the power of the media can do.”

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