Parents were left angry after discovering they had continued to be charged for their kids’ swimming lessons... despite them being cancelled. 

Steven Starling discovered he continued to pay Clacton Leisure Centre for half a year after his children's lessons had been cancelled. 

He said: “I got an email in April saying, if I want to re-enrol them, I’d need to set up a new direct debit. 

“Over the past six months, I paid £239.88 for my two children.

"It’s bad on my part because it took me six months to realise but I trusted that email that was sent out. 

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

“I got in touch with the leisure centre who kept saying they needed to check their old system and get back to me."

Mr Starling’s attempts to resolve the issue with the Tendring Council-run leisure centre and get a refund were unsuccessful and have left him even more frustrated. 

According to him, prior lessons had been cancelled week after week before parents had been informed of a broken filter was the reason for the previous cancellations. 

Mr Starling said he had to get his local councillor involved as well as the help of his bank. 

Councillor Mick Barry, cabinet member for Leisure and Public Realm at Tendring Council, which runs Clacton Leisure Centre, said the direct debits had not been cancelled as they were for live memberships. 

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

“Memberships changed last year when a decision was made to separate children’s swimming lessons from junior memberships," he said.

"The leisure centre junior membership remained active and the members were still able to access and use our facilities.

“All members affected by this change were written to about it.

"Anybody also has the option to cancel direct debits themselves through their bank. 

“It is not our policy to cancel memberships, and associated direct debits, without written instructions from the members that they wish to do so.

"If we had, this could have led to frustration with people turning up and being refused entry. 

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

“I do apologise for any misunderstanding that has arisen as a result of these changes, and hopefully the position is now clarified.”