Kingston residents expressed anger at the prolonged closure of the Kingfisher Leisure Center on Fairfield Road, saying the council’s communication was “shocking”.
The center was forced to close in December due to “urgent repairs”, but last week the council tweeted that it would not be able to confirm whether the center will reopen before April at the earliest.
The message was as follows: “The Kingfisher recreation center is temporarily closed. During the repair work, major new problems have emerged that the board must now resolve. We will not be able to confirm the likely reopening of the center until April 2020 at the earliest. “
A spokesperson said the repair raised concerns about the structural integrity of the roof.
They added that a full structural study is underway and that the center had to be closed as a precaution for the safety of users and staff.
The news angered families and other users of the center.
Mom Mary Trafford, whose children take swimming lessons at the center, said she had “no idea” how she would be reimbursed.
“Now I have to find two sets of swimming lessons, which here are either extremely expensive or a massive faff with a long waiting list. I was tolerant enough and now I’m bored,” she said. .
She said she paid £ 36.50 per child per month for the lessons.
“It’s good value for money, but not if you can’t access the pool,” she said.
“As far as I know, I haven’t been billed for December, but I would like to know for sure the fees and if we will stay on the swimming list or if we can transfer to another pool. It was difficult to get the lessons at the right time in the first place and my youngest was making incredible progress, which is now stalled.
“I understand the problems, but annoyed by the lack of communication. I did not receive a single email from them, not even when the initial work started. The swimming instructors transmitted the information and if not I “I must have called them. And they’re not good at answering the phone. And trying to join the swimming lessons at New Malden is a joke.”
Carina Martins said she only found out about the closure after going to the center, only to find that it was not open.
“Amazing, what a disservice,” she said.
Others were concerned that the delay and the extent of the repairs could mean closing the center.
Parents liked to use the center because it was easy to access and had convenient weekend swim times.
A number of local schools have also reportedly used the pool for swimming lessons, including the Kingston Grammar School.
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Kingston council said that “until the full survey of the structure is completed, we do not know if / when part of the center is likely to open”.
A spokesperson said that direct debit payments for swimming lessons will be automatically adjusted “ensuring that no payments are made during the shutdown.”
While swimming lessons are suspended, users can use the nearby centers.
Membership cards will continue to work at other board recreation centers, but members can also temporarily suspend their membership for free by sending an email to email@example.com or by calling 01444 221052.
For more details and information on access to other leisure centers, click here
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