RYEDALE District Council is to conduct a review into swimming provision in the district - particularly "learn to swim" lessons for children.

The review was decided upon at a meeting of the council's scrutiny committee last Thursday.

Sports and Leisure Management Ltd, which trade as Everyone Active, took over the running of council leisure facilities in October 2014. The meeting last week saw them present its annual report to council.

As part of the presentation, Martin Miles of Everyone Active said they have written to two local swimming clubs - Derwent Valley and Ryedale - stating that they wish to be the sole provider of "learn to swim" lessons in the district.

Lessons are currently provided by the clubs. Everyone Active say they propose to take over the lessons from early 2018.

Councillor Bob Gardiner asked: “If people pay money to go and use the facilities, what’s so important that you have to do it?”

Mr Miles said: “I think there’s three aspects to that. There’s the commercial benefit to us in providing all lessons. Secondly we can assure the quality of the lessons - though I’m not saying they are bad lessons. Thirdly, there’s safeguarding issues.”

He added they are the sole provider of learn to swim schemes elsewhere nationally.

The company representatives were questioned by members of swimming clubs. One member asked what measures Everyone Active had taken to check whether their swimming lessons would be better than those of swimming clubs.

Both clubs and Everyone Active are all members of Swim England which requires safeguarding standards such as DBS checks.

Mr Miles said: “The question about being better will be a subjective judgement and I couldn’t say whether we’ll be better or not.”

Asked why it has taken several years since the company took over leisure delivery in 2014 to bring up the issue, he said: “The removal of swimming lessons is a sensitive one. The last thing we want is a poor relationship with the two clubs.”

Cllr John Clark, committee chairman, said: “We’ve had a friendly discussion, it’s been well-meaning, and I want to build on that.”

The motion to conduct the review was carried unanimously.