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Letter: A fine mess at our New Forest leisure centres

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SIR – I read with interest the problems Freedom Leisure are having running the New Forest District Council leisure centres (A&T, 29th July).

Back in June I decided to return to weekly swimming at Ringwood but found the car parking registration a real problem.

I inadvertently entered my car registration incorrectly on the machine and, bingo, I received a £60 parking fine in the post.

New Milton Health & Leisure is one of five run by Freedom Leisure
New Milton Health & Leisure is one of five run by Freedom Leisure

I made enquiries about contesting the fine but didn't have a receipt to prove I had a swim that day so I had no option but to pay the fine.

The company, Parking Eye Ltd, even sent a further threatening letter a few days after I had sent the cheque.

I know that over 300 people are trying to contest their fines and many, like myself, have just paid up.

As it costs £3.50 for a pensioner swim, it will be a long time before I have recouped the cost of my fine by not swimming at Ringwood.

No wonder Freedom Leisure are short of customers at their leisure facilities – we pensioners can't afford the fines, nor can the families who bring children to swimming lessons and forget to log in on the machines.

Do they want customers to visit or not?

I did notice on my two visits before being fined that the number of swimmers was very low. So come on, NFDC, please sort this out.

Pauline Sunderland,

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