A GYM user has slammed Shropshire Council for making access to leisure centre facilities in Oswestry more expensive than elsewhere in the county.

Steve Wilcox, from Oswestry, tried to renew a membership, formerly discounted, and while researching prices, he found that membership for Oswestry Leisure Centre was more expensive than at other council-owned facilities even though members can use all sites.

Mr Wilcox said he was disappointed to see the changes and also to discover that people in Oswestry are charged more to use the facilities than the rest of Shropshire.

He said: "I went to my gym in Oswestry to be told the 'Be Active" discount card had been withdrawn.

"So once mine had expired the price would go from less than £4 to more than £8, and no other discount was available.

"I was told that a lot of people were going to be affected by this change.

"I rang other gyms run by Shropshire Council to find that monthly prices in Oswestry were much higher than in Shrewsbury by more than 30 per cent.

"I feel there should be a standard price across Shropshire.

"I feel it’s wrong Shropshire Council should stop supporting their local NHS trust by withdrawing this discount to keep fit."

He was backed by Shropshire councillor Duncan Kerr, who was disappointed that an Oswestry membership would cost more than Shrewsbury, despite both facilities on offer to all.

He added: "Members who join Oswestry Leisure Centre pay £34.50 per month while members who join Shrewsbury Sports Village pay just £25 and for this payment have the full right to use that facilities at Oswestry.

"I have been told that the facilities at Shrewsbury at not on a par with those at Oswestry though some would dispute this.

"The sport village has a climbing wall for example and the price includes use of the Quarry swimming pool equipped with a flume.

"All the data on long-term illness and deprivation demonstrates that Oswestry has a greater need for affordable leisure facilities than Shrewsbury.

"The least Shropshire Council can do to help this is to remove the premium that Oswestry people have to pay to use their own facility."

Cecilia Motley, Cabinet member for culture, leisure and tourism, defended the structure.

She said: “While Shropshire Council is committed to leisure centres being open to all and offering competitive pricing, the pricing across Shropshire varies slightly due to the quality and diversity of the facilities and activities offered.

“For Shropshire Council managed sites, there is a £35/ month membership fee for usage of all three centres at Bishop’s Castle, Church Stretton and Much Wenlock.

"The individual centres are £28.50-£30 a month. None of these sites can compare to Oswestry in terms of facilities and activities.

“The only comparable Shropshire Council-owned site to Oswestry is in Ludlow. This leisure centre is operated by Teme Leisure and there is a monthly charge of £35 for this facility.

“The centres operate in a competitive market, and therefore need to ensure they meet sector expectations in terms of pricing. It is therefore not possible to harmonise pricing across all facilities.

“Concessionary rates apply to eligible members of the public and there are multiple options on the type of membership service users can opt for.”