The new contractor running Thornton Heath Leisure Centre is facing more criticism over what has been described as ’squalid conditions’ in the swimming pool area and freezing water temperatures.

This comes as one swimmer reported on Saturday seeing  ‘multiple small insects – flea-like – hopping about on the tiles and in amongst the white plastic drains that border the swimming pool edge – at the deep end near the new steam room and sauna.’

Others have described the toilets as filthy, either blocked or out of action, with no soap, or toilet roll. 

Half the showers don’t work or are ‘too hot or too cold’ and on Saturday only two of the six showers available to women were working.

Julie Thompson, said: “The pool is absolutely freezing – I feel sorry for the kids that have to use it during the week from school. No disabled toilets work in pool area either.  I’ve actually just cancelled my membership as I could not tolerate the utter squalor of the swimming pool area any longer. As much as I love aqua aerobics, I will have to find an alternative venue now. All these changes promised at the meetings I’ve been to but nearly a year later nothing has improved in this area. Why did this company even get this contract? Where is the council monitoring of their performance?”

Valérie Ferretti said:  “I used to go at the weekend with my son in the kiddie pool. I stopped using it as it is too cold. The water had been cold since they swapped management and didn’t seem to get sorted.

“I find it shocking that staff still let you in and charge you without any warning before entering about the pool temperature. It is shocking particularly for young children as you are not going to be…

warming up doing lengths and you are not going to stay and put your child’s health at risk. It is very unethical.”

The council awarded GLL, the not-for-profit social enterprise which operates the borough’s leisure centres under the ‘Better’ brand, a 20 year contract which started in March.

Despite regular meetings between management and leisure centre users customers continue to be frustrated by the failure to tackle long standing issues particularly around cleanliness saying the management do not care or are in no hurry to resolve problems.

Other complaints have focussed on the newly converted spin studio which members posted pictures at the weekend showing  ‘cramped conditions’  and no air conditioning with staff at the relying on a  makeshift fan.

A spokesperson for GLL said: “Swimming pool temperatures at Thornton Heath Leisure Centre are always kept consistent with leisure industry guidelines.  The main pool at 29C and the small pool at 31C.  There was a technical issue with the small pool last week, which lasted for two days and meant it was not fully heated.  All customers were told of this on arrival and advised to use the main pool.  The issue has now been resolved.

“Ongoing refurbishment is underway at the leisure centre.  Contractors are currently onsite renovating one of the disabled changing rooms and it will soon be back in use. In addition, all the showers in the swimming pool changing area will be replaced in January 2019.

“GLL takes the cleanliness of its facilities very seriously, with hourly checks of the pool area. We have not received any complaints from customers relating to this issue to date.  However, we will be undertaking an internal review to ensure that all correct procedures are being implemented by our staff.”