The Sportspark has announced that ‘pay and play’ prices for the athletics track will be increasing on 3 April 2017. These increases coincide with the loss by the Sportspark of a significant grant from Norfolk County Council which for many years has supported the use of the track by local schools during term times.
Prior to their decision to raise pay & play prices, the Sportspark management approached CoNAC – as their only regular user group apart from the UEA – with a proposal that they would do away with pay & play entry during the current track sessions available to our members and instead CoNAC would pay the Sportspark an annual fee of £32,000 for unlimited access by our members during these session times. The Sportspark’s expectation was that we would recover this cost from our members by whatever means was required. In effect they were asking us to take on the role of managing & paying for our members to use the track, thereby reducing their own administrative burden at reception and at the same time balancing their budgets.
The CoNAC executive committee, whilst always mindful of and focused on cost management and fair charging structures, has considered this proposal in detail and over the last few months we have attended a series of meetings with the Sportspark’s senior management team to discuss the matter. And we have now concluded that there is no fair (and operationally efficient) way that we could apportion an annual fee amongst our members because (i) not all CoNAC members are track users, (ii) those that use the track do so to varying degrees depending on the seasonal calendar, and (iii) as a charity run by volunteers we simply do not have the resources ourselves to deal with these kinds of transactions.
During our meetings with the Sportspark’s senior management team we suggested a variety of individual cost saving and efficiency measures. These included the introduction of multi-use track entry tickets and annual / seasonal Sportspark membership cards in line with the arrangements which their swimmers and gym users already enjoy. We also suggested that making the boundaries of the track more secure, the introduction of a turnstile entry system to the track and a better policing of track users by Sportspark staff were all measures which would improve their revenue and prevent misuse.
Regrettably the Sportspark has dismissed all of our suggestions. It is unable or unwilling to recognise the difficulties that CoNAC would encounter in the collection of £32,000 from our track users along with the logistical challenges we would face in delivering a vigilant process on all club nights and training sessions.
The new pay & play prices from 3 April 2017 will be:
- Adult: £4.20
- Junior including concessions: £3.60
- Non Sportspark members: £5.50
The CoNAC executive committee is keen to continue a dialogue with the Sportspark about ways of improving access to the track and the costs of track use by CoNAC members.