PLANS to introduce parking charges at Leominster leisure centre have been met with frustration.

Halo announced it will be introducing the charges this summer at both Hereford and Leominster leisure centres.

Charges will be set at £1 for up to three hours, £5 for more than three hours, £40 for a six-month pass or £70 for an annual pass.

Regular user of Leominster leisure centre Sarah Lamonby, 21, said: “I think it's absolutely awful. I have been a paying member of the gym for over two years now and I go to the gym, classes or swimming six times a week.

“There is no way I will be paying an extra £24 a month to use the facilities if I pay hourly – I would rather cancel my membership and use a gym elsewhere or do my own training.

“That will be every car park in Leominster now that charges, it's awful.”

Halo managers said they hope the charges might urge users to instead walk, cycle or car-share to the centre but Ms Lamonby said this just isn’t an option for her.

She said: “I go straight after work otherwise it would be too late for me to go to the gym by the time I have parked up at home and walked down.

“It would take me 10 minutes to walk on the weekends when I'm at my parents house but during the week I stay in Weobley and don't fancy cycling that far to then use the gym.

“I think if you have the time to walk or cycle then you wouldn't need to use the gym because I believe a lot of the regular users at the gym are full-time working people who use the centre as convenience.”

The overflow car park at the leisure centre is currently locked every evening by town councillor Wayne Rosser, which has successfully ended much of the anti-social behaviour in the area.

Coun Rosser was concerned that there would be an increase in anti-social behaviour should the car park now be left open throughout the night.

He has met with Halo staff who advised that they would take over the responsibility for managing the car park.

He said: “The anti-social behaviour problem needed to be addressed properly but they are going to take over the management of it 24/7 so people that live in the area won’t have to worry about it going back to how it used to be.”

Coun Rosser has received 50 complaints so far about the proposed charges but said he understands why Halo are having to implement them due to a reduction in their funding from Herefordshire Council.