Moray councillors have moved to allay fears over the future use of council-run sport and leisure facilities by people suffering from disabilities.
A report and recommendations on a new membership scheme that will be operational by January for those facilities owned and operated by the local authority had indicated that monthly costs for disabled users would rise from £14 to £19.
However, at the outset of the council’s policy and resources committee on Tuesday chairman Councillor Allan Wright said that there was a clear cross-party consensus on the new scheme provided a change was made that permitted free membership to the facilities for those who are registered disabled plus a carer.
The new scheme is aimed at pricing levels that would make the facilities more attractive to families. Family membership under the new scheme will cost £27 when paid by direct debit or £324 for a one-off annual payment.
Individual membership will be priced at £19 monthly or £228 when paid on an annual basis.
The membership scheme will allow access to all council-owned swimming pools, community centres and fitness rooms and will include junior and adult swimming lessons, exercise classes and all term-time and holiday programmes for children.
The introduction of the scheme has emerged from the council’s review of sports, leisure and recreational provision in Moray and will take effect from the start of the year. It will supersede all other existing membership schemes and saver cards which are currently in operation.
Councillors were told that the aim is to sell around 3500 memberships, generating an income of around £1million annually.
While free access is being granted for disabled the new structure will still hit young and old members, with juniors and over-60’s having to pay £5 more than they do currently.