THE boss of the company that runs Ross Swimming Pool says he is “very worried” by rising costs in the coming year.

Scott Rolfe of Halo Leisure said pools could face closure owing to potential 300 per cent rises in utility costs from April.

Halo currently has eight centres in Herefordshire, and another 14 spread across Gloucestershire, South Wales, Shropshire and Wiltshire.

The company was exploring all potential savings, but pool heating costs were difficult to reduce, he said.

School use in Herefordshire by up to 5,000 children from some 60 primaries a week meant it was difficult running pools at “optimal temperatures”.

“If you drop temperatures too much then it becomes too cool for children and babies, so it kind of defeats the object,” he added.

Herefordshire Council has said it is “working in partnership with Halo to help them continue to provide the invaluable facilities residents need this winter”.

Mr Rolfe said that while any support was welcome, government aid was set to end this spring, when “all eyes” would be on what comes next”.

And he claimed that a government rescue package would be worth it if it saved “critically-important community facilities”.

“Just imagine the impact if there were no swimming pools and no children were able to learn to swim,” he added.

Worcester City Council revealed back in September that it had handed over up to £255,000 from its reserves to Freedom Leisure, which runs three centres in the local area, to help cover their soaring gas and electricity bills.