Friday, 19 August 2022

£150,000 revamp for leisure centre changing rooms

THE changing rooms at Henley leisure centre are to be renovated at a cost of £150,000 just weeks after the Henley Standard exposed filthy conditions there.

South Oxfordshire District Council is to upgrade the wet changing rooms, used to get to the swimming pool, in the autumn.

It says that if the work is not done, then it could lead to customer dissatisfaction and a fall in membership numbers.

During the refurbishment, which will take about eight weeks and will be completed within a year, swimmers will use the dry changing rooms.

The council says the changing facilities and lockers will be updated as they look “tired and dated” after 10 years without any renovation. The showers and lighting will also be improved.

The work will be carried out in partnership with GLL, which runs the centre off Gillotts Lane on behalf of the council.

A council report says: “The objectives of the scheme are to maintain existing customer expectations and attract new customers by maintaining the facilities at an acceptable level.

“Staff try hard to maintain cleanliness in the area but the design, layout and fittings make this extremely difficult.

“A key objective for the council and GLL is to reduce customer complaints and increase satisfaction, both of which are measurable and form part of the council’s annual performance review of the contract, which is reviewed by the joint scrutiny committee.

“South Oxfordshire has a contractual responsibility to maintain the facilities at a structural level and, where appropriate, replace key component parts when they become broken beyond repair or are no longer fit for purpose.

“Both of these criteria are met with the Henley changing rooms, with GLL taking on responsibility for maintaining the area from completion of the scheme.”

The council says the work will benefit staff and customers and “will improve standards in cleanliness, hygiene and overall satisfaction levels”.

Last month the Henley Standard exclusively revealed problems with dirty changing rooms and showers at the leisure centre. These included a dirty and broken shower, a blocked drain, stained tiles and rubbish left on the floor.

GLL blamed the problem on its cleaning contractor, which was then replaced.

Joan Bland, who represents Henley on the district council, said: “About 10 years ago the district council gave £400,000 for the refurbishment of the leisure centre. The gym has been maintained very well, however the pool changing areas need work.

“The problems were flagged up by club members and passed on to Anna Badcock [cabinet member for leisure] and the officers. We were fortunate members of the public brought it to our attention and now it has been sorted.

“I have said that pristine standards are the only ones that are acceptable.”

Lorraine Hillier, a town and district councillor, said the refurbishment was “fantastic” news.

“We needed to make these upgrades and I’m very pleased because this work is so important,” she said. “It’s a good spend of people’s tax money.”

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak, who is also a town and district councillor, said: “I’m extremely pleased and would like to thank Anna Badcock for shepherding this through.”

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