A FEERING health facility could be axing its popular children’s swimming lessons – leaving 200 children without the chance to develop the “essential life skill”.

Prested Hall is home to a boutique wedding venue, bistro and health club.

Prested Hall Health Club’s facilities include a 20m indoor pool which is home to Swimwise Essex.

The organisation rents the pool and provides swimming lessons for children aged three and older.

Braintree and Witham Times: Business - another image of Prested HallBusiness - another image of Prested Hall (Image: Newsquest)

Prested Hall now wants to expand its health club and offer its members access to the pool during “prime time” hours, when the swimming lessons take place.

Rachel Hobbs is a member of Prested Hall and has two children aged three and six who attend Swimwise lessons on Mondays from 3.45pm to 5.15pm.

Rachel and other parents were told swimming lessons were being axed in an email from Swimwise.

The email, which has been seen by the Braintree and Witham Times, says lessons must stop at the end of July.

It says Swimwise has been searching for a "suitable" alternative pool but has not found anything local  or with the "same amazing facilities".

Rachel said: “My youngest son was scared of water until he started swimming in September and has grown in confidence and he loves his swimming teacher - she is amazing.

Braintree and Witham Times: Lesson - an illustrative image of a child learning to swimLesson - an illustrative image of a child learning to swim (Image: Pixabay)

“Everyone’s disappointed. What are we going to do with our children when there is nowhere else? We’re kind of stuck.”

Katie Heron, 45, of Kelvedon has been a member of Prested Hall since 2022 and also has children who swim there.

She said: “I think it’s really sad and disappointing that Prested Hall has decided to stop Swimwise swimming lessons at the club.

“Over four hours, over four days, 200 local children learn to swim - an absolutely essential life skill.

“Stopping lessons not only robs these children of this skill but also takes the club further away from the heart of the community, a reason many people join.

“I hope the club realises its mistake and reinstates the lessons so potential future members don’t grow up unable to be safe in water.”

Health club director Jatin Bathla said the decision "had not been taken lightly".

But he fears the A12 road widening scheme could cause a huge loss of customers over the next five years.

This would impact the wedding and events side, so he wants to grow the health club side of Prested Hall to ensure the business's survival.

He said:  “My son goes to same swim class every Monday, it’s not a decision we have taken lightly.

“Prested Hall has gone through a lot of turmoil.

"We went through a liquidation. I’ve taken it on myself - I am borrowing money to make sure the business survives.

“It’s a hard decision. When the kids come, members aren’t allowed in the pool.

“My hands are tied and we have a business to run.”