WHILE the nation's finances take a dive, a leisure centre operator has nearly doubled the cost of its swimming lessons in Greenwich, blaming "an administrative error".

Some swimmers have announced they will boycott the pool at The Arches, after operator Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) - also known as Better - increased the cost of five half hour lessons for two children from £99.50 to £174.80 almost overnight.

Tony Clark, whose 13-year-old son Sam has had lessons there for nearly a decade, said: "This definitely isn't for the better.

"That works out around £36 for half an hour instead of £20, all in a lane which you're sharing with other swimmers anyway."

The 56-year-old, of Park Vista, said: "A lot of parents like us will be boycotting these lessons.

"Children who don't have a chance to swim at school will be deprived of relatively affordable lessons in their local pool. It's an outrage."

Mr Clark claims he was told by the centre that Greenwich's prices were being pushed up in line with those of other venues run by Better across London.

GLL is a charitable enterprise started by Greenwich Council in the 1990s and Mr Clark questioned why the organisation would push prices so high, and how it was customers were given so little notice of the charges, quietly introduced just after half term.

A spokeswoman for GLL said: “Due to an administrative error two to one private swimming lessons at the Arches Leisure Centre were being charged at the same price as one to one swimming lessons and therefore customers have been undercharged for some time.”

She added: “We will however honour the pricing agreements made with existing customers who are currently enrolled on two to one private swimming lesson courses.”

Have you been affected by the price hike? Call the newsroom on 01689 885714 or email mchandler@london.newsquest.co.uk