Wednesday, 23 January 2019

£20,000 repairs at leisure centre to stop water damage

Plaster on the leisure centre floor from 2017 (file pic)

ALMOST £20,000 is to be spent in repairs at Henley leisure centre.

South Oxfordshire District Council, which owns the centre, is to refurbish the dry side changing room as water from the showers is seeping into the adjacent sports hall, damaging the walls and possibly the floor.

The council spent £150,000 on refurbishing the wet side facilities at the Gillotts Lane centre a year ago following a Henley Standard exposé in February 2017 which revealed the changing rooms and showers were dirty and dilapidated.

A member complained about blocked drains, stained tiles and rubbish such as used plasters and chewing gum being left on the floor.

The dry side has not had any work done for more than a decade. A report to the council’s cabinet says the repairs will make the dry side as good as the wet side and “improve the user experience and extend the life of the facilities”.

It says: “Customers made both verbal and written complaints to the press regarding the condition at Henley leisure centre where the wet side improvements have taken place and how much better those facilities are compared with the dry side and that they would wish to see the dry side facilities match the wet side.

“The dry side changing facilities were refurbished in 2004/5 but have left several ongoing issues.

“Most importantly, water from the dry side showers is seeping into the sports hall from adjoining walls and degrading the structure of those walls and possibly the sports hall floor. This is due to the poor laying of the floor tiles and the grout used to waterproof the area.

“Failure to deliver the improvements to the dry side will lead to further deterioration of the floor tiles and grouting in the showers, allowing more water ingress into the adjacent sports hall walls and potentially causing damage to the sports hall floor.

“Failure to deliver these improvements will reduce customer satisfaction and overall customer experience that in time could lead to a reduction in usage and loss of revenue.”

The original refurbishment work included new changing cubicles, lockers and vanity units for the swimming area, which the council said looked dated.

However, just two months later, visitors complained to the Henley Standard again about dirty changing areas and broken equipment as well as staff failing to take action despite complaints.

The council says the wet side improvement project was underspent so there was money available for the latest work.

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak, one of Henley’s district councillors, welcomed the move.

He said: “The leisure centre was subject to extensive refurbishment but there were bits that were missed.

“I want to ensure the £20,000 is spent wisely to finish off the improvements. My only question is is that sum enough to finally get the job done?”

The centre has a gym and Henley’s only public swimming pool following the closure of LA Fitness.

The council agreed to go ahead with the work on the recommendation of the cabinet.

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