Angry Tiddenfoot customers are making waves after being abruptly ordered out of the pool midway through their swim on repeat occasions.
The situation, which has been ongoing for a number of weeks, has been caused by a lack of lifeguards and a technical problem with a pump.
After putting the complaints from readers to Central Beds Council, the management of lifestyles@tiddenfoot yesterday issued an apology to those affected via the LBO.
One reader who contacted the LBO said: “What is going on at Tiddenfoot swimming pool? For the second time in three days, I have been kicked out of the swimming pool half way through my swim.
“Apparently, they are short staffed and the lifeguard on duty is only allowed to work for 90 minutes, after which time he has to take a 15 minute break; so it is everybody out of the pool for 15 minutes.
“This first happened to me last Saturday (July 25), but the person on reception did warn me beforehand, today I was not informed that there would be a closure so I entered expecting to swim for my usual 40 minutes.
“During my 15 minute wait, I was talking to another lady swimmer who told me that this has been going on for a least three weeks as she was ousted from he pool on Saturday three weeks ago.
“When I asked the general manager if this will happen again when I next swim on Thursday, he could not guarantee one way or another and suggested I telephone beforehand as the reception staff would be able to advise.
“When I spoke to the reception staff they said they were only given five minutes notice. so a lot of help that would be then!”
“I have been swimming at this pool for 30 years and this has never happened before.
“Obviously this is very inconvenient for people who are swimming in their lunch hour, or have better things to do with their time.”
Other readers’ posts on our Facebook page included Michelle Hammett who said: “Got kicked out as not enough lifeguards and the one at vbp needed a break. It had only been open an hour!”
Erika Chamberlain This has been going on for months, both May bank holidays they closed pool early as they had no lifeguards. On 10th June they didn’t open at 6 as had no staff both pool and gym, swimming lessons have been cancelled recently as no lifeguards. Pool is always very cold as well and has been for over a year.”
Roy James added: “Tiddenfoot are the laughing stock of LB. Whoever is running this place needs to resign PDQ. Just look at the staff not many have smiley faces, the reception is an utter joke cos you can never get through – is there an actual receptionist, I’m beginning to wonder? All this refurb is great but Tiddenfoot wake up and sort your internal shambles/mess out .”
James Kinsella, contract manager at 1Life, who manage lifestyles@tiddenfoot on behalf of the council, said: “We accept full responsibility for the problems that have arisen at the leisure centre in recent weeks, and we are now taking corrective measures to rectify these and make immediate improvements.”
“A lack of qualified lifeguards and a now-resolved technical issue with a pump did lead to the more recent pool closures. However, we have now arranged staff cover and we are in the process of running National Pool Lifeguarding Qualification courses to train new people. In addition, a programme of focused, customer service training, pool programme review and operational staff recruitment should mean in the future we provide the best possible experience at lifestyles@tiddenfoot.
“Customers can raise any issues with me by calling 01525 375765 or emailing me at CMCentralBeds@1Life.co.uk”
Only last September, the centre, which was described by Central Beds Council as “old and tired”, received a £2million revamp to a large fanfare with Olympians Fran Leighton (water polo), Adam Whitehead (swimmer) and Hannah Green (synchronised swimmer), turning out to see the new state-of-the-art facilities.