‘We want a swim,’ say users of pool left shut since November

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The indoor swimming pool at the Oasis Sports Centre before it was drained

SWIMMERS have spoken of their frustration over one of central London’s best-used swimming pools which has been closed for more than eight months.

Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) – which runs the Better health and fitness centre brand – drained the pool in November and users say they have been kept in the dark as to why.

The council-owned Oasis Sports Centre in Endell Street, Covent Garden, includes an indoor and outdoor pool, the rooftop lido. Work has yet to begin to bring the indoor pool back into use.

Roger Evans, who has been swimming at the Oasis on a near daily basis since 1986, said users had been kept in the dark. He said: “No one has been able to explain what the problem is. It has been just excuse after excuse.”

The Holborn-based pool is one of a small number of publicly accessible places to swim in central London – and users add the closure has hit some of the area’s poorest families.

Mr Evans added: “It is in the middle of social housing and families here really rely on it for their children to learn to swim. It is crucial as a functioning facility for so, so, many.

“And it is just not good enough for it to be closed for so long.”

Mr Evans called on the Camden to rethink their contract with Better and make sure users’ voices were heard. He said: “Someone is not reaching their contractual agreements here and there has been little information. You ask staff what is happening and they just shrug their shoulders. They’re great but they just do not know what is happening.”

After the Extra made enquiries, new signs appeared apologising for the pool’s ongoing closure.

Mr Evans added: “At best the signs are ambiguous, but at least they say work is going to start.”

GLL would not be drawn on the reasons behind the delay in work starting. A spokesman said: “We are now ready to start repairs to fix a mechanical failure to the indoor pool and are aiming to open the pool at the end of July.

“Camden has a large number of indoor pools and we are managing these in extremely challenging circumstances, most notably the energy crisis which means it is very costly to heat our pools.

“The pool has a lower demand in winter and all school and club bookings were successfully accommodated to other locations while we considered when and how best to carry out the works.

“The indoor pool at Oasis is an older facility. This means that repairs to it are expensive and need to be considered carefully to make sure we get it right.”

GLL also has a contract with Islington, where cost-cutting measures have included earlier closing times.

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