FEMALE only swimming sessions will no longer be held at a Dursley pool after a complaint was made under the sex discrimination act.

A notice put up at The Pulse earlier this week said that the weekly evening ‘Ladies Only’ session will be changed to both genders from September 6.

Gloucestershire County Councillor for Dursley Loraine Patrick hit out at the decision, saying that a number of swimmers would now be put off from using the facility.

“For some women it has taken a lot of courage for them to even take part in the women’s sessions,” Cllr Patrick told the Gazette.

“Now because of one man’s complaints these sessions have been denied to them.

“I am so annoyed at this. I know it’s the law and it’s not the pool’s fault but this is not how the law is supposed to be used.

“These sessions are just one evening a week and for a lot of women mixed-sessions are just not possible for one reason or another.

“Rather than getting rid of them, why not just introduce a male-only session as well?”

Cllr Patrick, who is also a regular user of the pool, added that she would be taking the issue further.

The Pulse is operated by Stroud District Council.

Stroud District Councillor for Dursley Alison Hayward said she was disappointed with the decision. as there was need for the sessions in the town.

“Personally I am really disappointed to the see the session end,” she said. “We are facing a nationwide struggle with health and activity and should not be putting up barriers to accessing sports and fitness.

“With increasing numbers of eating disorders being reported in men it might have been better to offer a men’s session as well.”

A spokesman for Stroud District Council said: “We have been running these ladies only swimming sessions historically for several years, however we were recently contacted to justify why we ran them, as single sex classes are likely to be in breach of the Equalities Act 2010.

"Consequently we have had to change the session, which runs for an hour each week, to one for all adults – which also happens to be something many of our customers have asked for.

"We regularly review our programme and consider our customers’ opinions, and whilst this may not be ideal for everyone, we hope they’ll understand that we have to abide by the law.

"We should add that we are in discussions with Sport England to see if their exemption guidelines would allow us to reinstate the sessions, however it looks very unlikely that we will qualify for this as exceptions only apply when groups are underrepresented, and at The Pulse, the majority of our swimmers, who come throughout the week, are female.”