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Calls for 20p hairdryer fee to be scrapped in Banbridge as other leisure centres free

"It is not even the cost, it is finding 20p. You open your wallet and you might have a couple of pounds but it only takes correct change so you have to go to reception looking the coins.”

There have been calls for a 20p fee to use hairdryers at Banbridge Leisure Centre to be scrapped.

The issue was raised by newly-appointed Alliance Councillor Jessica Johnston, who pointed out that hairdryer use was free at all other leisure centres in the borough.

She raised the issue at a meeting of the council’s leisure committee this week.

“This issue has been raised with myself and party colleagues and while I appreciate it might not apply to some and might sound trivial it is an issue worth looking into,” she said.

“We are increasingly moving to a cashless society and we offer a council-wide membership scheme that offers access to all nine of our leisure facilities. For those who use two or three of the facilities in a week they are not accustomed to having to pay this 20p and don’t always have the cash on them.

“I would like to ask officers why Banbridge charges this and others don’t and ask for an update to be brought back to the committee.”

DUP group leader, Alderman Mark Baxter said Councillor Johnston raised a valid point.

“I struggle with hairdryers as well,” he said half-jokingly.

“I bring my daughters to the pool and have to brush their hair. It is not even the cost, it is finding 20p.

“You open your wallet and you might have a couple of pounds but it only takes correct change so you have to go to reception looking the coins.”

He also called for officers to investigate the possibility of installing more ‘high spin’ machines for swimwear at leisure facilites across the borough.

“The other thing, while we are on the subject of leisure centres is a high spin machine to ring your wet gear out after a swim. It is a machine that is not available in Banbridge,” he said.

“I know it is a very small issue but is a wonderful thing and should be in all our leisure centres and I would ask if we can explore installing those in all our leisure centres.”

Council’s head of estates and asset management, Jonathan Hayes, told the committee he was “happy to take away both points and come back to members individually with updates”.

Meanwhile, Alderman Glenn Barr asked for an update on when the spa and steam rooms at Banbridge Leisure Centre will be ready for public use again.

Mr Hayes said he could not provide the answer immediately but confirmed he would provide Alderman Barr with an update.

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