May 21, 2022 6.00 am

Jubilee Park faces trebled running costs for open air swimming pool

They are calling for government support

Jubilee Park in Woodhall Spa is calling on support from the government, as well as encouraging the public to come along this summer, as running costs look set to soar out of control.

The rising cost of living has affected communities across the country, and it would seem that even companies and landmarks are feeling the squeeze too.

It is estimated by Jubilee Park that their running costs for utilities at the pool and park could soar from £50,000 a year to £160,000 a year – an increase of more than 200%, as per current variable rates for the likes of gas and electricity.

It comes at a difficult time for Jubilee Park, having recently had to splash out £70,000 on two new boilers to heat the open air swimming pool – as the current boilers are more than 30 years old and needed replacing.

Jubilee Park Woodhall Spa. | Photo: Jubilee Park Woodhall Spa website

The purchasing of the new boilers has been planned for some time, and money has been set aside to cover the costs by trustees, though other projects and routine maintenance have had to be delayed or cancelled as a result.

Operations director Joe Stanhope told The Lincolnite: “As a charity that doesn’t currently receive any public funding towards running costs we are looking very carefully at how we can reduce the utility costs and increase footfall.

“Making people aware that our pools are lovely and warm whatever the weather and encouraging people to use us more frequently are two of the main things we want to do this year.

“This tied in with new boilers and looking at renewable energy are all high on the agenda, although with significant outlay needed to be put into place.

“It’s very difficult to comment on the finances moving forwards as we just don’t know what impact these will have yet or in fact how much the utilities will be.”

Jubilee Park is now calling on government support for the industry, as it is revealed leisure income is classed as exempt from VAT, which means VAT will not be charged for the customers, but must still be paid by the company.

Joe added: “We would like the government to help leisure charities like ours. There are a number of ways they could do this in our opinion.

“Grants for renewable energy or alternative energy specifically aimed at leisure centres and swimming pools. Also looking at why leisure income such as swimming or fitness income is classed as exempt from VAT rather than zero rated.

“Being exempt means we don’t charge VAT on our services, but we have to pay VAT on our costs. If we were zero rated we still wouldn’t charge VAT on our services and could get credited back for the VAT we pay on our costs.”