THE leisure company that runs Ryedale’s pools appears to have failed in its attempt to take swimming lessons away from the two clubs which have given them for 40 years.

Sports and Leisure Management Ltd, which trades as Everyone Active, took over the running of council leisure facilities in October 2014 as part of a £1.7 million, 10-year contract.

Late last year they wrote to two swimming clubs - Derwent Valley and Ryedale - stating they wished to be the sole provider of “learn to swim” lessons for children in the district.

The clubs rejected the idea, and last October it prompted a review by Ryedale District Council’s overview and scrutiny committee.

At a meeting on Thursday, the committee produced a report that found that “the social value of the club structure is an asset to Ryedale”, and the committee members voted unanimously for a range of recommendations that will see the clubs continue to deliver lessons.

Cllr John Clark, chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee, said: “The wranglings over the decision have all taken place - it hasn’t been an easy job, there’s been a lot of debate.”

Cllr Di Keal welcomed the committee’s decision and said: “I’m absolutely delighted that we’ve reached this conclusion.

“The swimming clubs have worked very hard for years and have done an excellent job.”

The committee’s recommendation will first have to go through the policy and resources committee and then to full council before it is fully confirmed.

David Goodfellow is the chairman of Ryedale Swimming Club, which was founded in 1973 and is based at Ryedale Pool in Pickering.

He said after the meeting: “We’re pleased with the work the scrutiny committee have done and the findings they’ve made - and that this community service is hopefully able to continue for the next forty years.

“But with two committees to go through there’s still a lot of work to do - there’s still a risk to the clubs.”

The committee’s report said that Everyone Active’s initial tender to run the pools was based on providing swimming lessons to 1,000 pupils, and that that it is about 200 short of this figure, which the company says has led to a loss of income.

Meanwhile, the report added that the clubs would also see a loss of income if not able to continue the lessons, as well as a potential loss of transition from young pupils to competition squads.

Everyone Active declined to comment when approached by the Gazette & Herald.