A council has sparked a dispute over a new scheme to charge people £7 an hour to swim in a harbour.

The open water swim pilot will start in the spring in Bristol Harbour, with lifeguards, safety boats and water trials available.

People who want to swim will be able to pay £7 per hour to swim in Bristol Harbor at weekends from April onwards.

It will take place every Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 10 am, from April 29 to May 28. Officials say 80 people will be allowed to participate, all booked in advance online.

The test will last five weeks along with a 200-meter swim.

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees wrote on his blog: “We have listened to people’s requests for a safe space to swim in our harbor and have been working with local and experienced partners to explore how we can make this a reality.

“We have also been working with partners like Wessex Water to check the quality of the water and see how we can implement additional testing to ensure it is safe before allowing people into the water.

“Throughout the pilot, we will monitor costs, uptake and any impact on our ability to maintain a secure environment throughout our port.”

However, despite finally getting the chance to swim in the harbor, some swimmers online have criticized the “hefty” charge of £7 per hour.

The fee is more expensive than some of the Bristol pools – the Bristol South pool charges £5.40 per hour.

Mayor Marvin Rees defended the swimming charge, stating that the council “heard people’s requests for a safe space to swim.”

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One person wrote on Twitter: “The absolute state of this country that: a) they charge us to swim in the damn sea.

“b) we have to take samples to make sure the water isn’t too full of sewage before swimming.”

Another questioned how “safe” the water was, writing: “I don’t know today, but in the 90’s the harbor was notoriously polluted. When he was a child, he had strict instructions never to touch water.”

However, some took a more positive view of the price, with writing from Bristol: “I want to say that pools in the city cost more than five pounds, many other places to swim in open water charge a similar amount to this, and the lido at Clifton is £25 for 2 hours!

“So I don’t think 7 pounds an hour is really that bad.”


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