IT is hard not to be unpleasantly surprised by the increase in charges for users of the swimming pool at the Winchester Sport and Leisure Park in Bar End.

Our front page story highlights the sharp rise that will hit anyone using the facilities.

The operator, Everyone Active, which runs the centre on behalf of the city council, says the increase is needed to provide a quality service.

An alternative view is that if you make swimming more expensive you deter people, custom drops and the service suffers. If you make it cheaper you generate more users and thus more income. People become healthier and happier, and everyone wins.

READ MORE HERE: Charges for families increase at sports centre

Members of one family said swimming should be free for young children. The Chronicle agrees. The nation is facing an obesity crisis with junk food ubiquitous aided by the explosion in home delivery.

Putting prices up will hit the poorest the hardest, the section of society that is most prone to weight issues.

Everyone Active should be thinking more broadly and play their part with an attractive pricing policy and a promotional campaign to maximise users of the centre. It is surprising that the city council seems unable or unwilling to take a stand on it.