Gosport’s new swimming pool proving too busy to use

POPULAR Gosport Leisure Centre. Picture: Steve Reid (124176-854)
POPULAR Gosport Leisure Centre. Picture: Steve Reid (124176-854)

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THE popularity of Gosport’s new leisure centre is leaving older residents waiting for a chance to use its pool.

The facility, run by DC Leisure, off Forest Way in Gosport, opened in January replacing the old Holbrook Recreation Centre.

LEARNING Gosport Leisure Centre manager Stuart Urquhart

LEARNING Gosport Leisure Centre manager Stuart Urquhart

But older pool-users have since faced difficulty in getting into the pool for a swim and for classes, claiming they are being overlooked.

Averil Branson, 63, of Camp Road in Bridgemary said she enjoyed attending the aqua aerobics 50-plus classes at Holbrook for 12 years and is angry new classes are not age-restricted.

She said it means she cannot get a place in the new classes as they are too busy.

She said: ‘We can’t get in, the classes are always booked.

‘If you’re not a member you have to book the morning you want to come.

‘The other day I set my alarm for 6.30am and phoned in and was told there were no available spaces – they’d all been taken up the day before.

‘It seems to me the elderly are being pushed out now.’

General manager Stuart Urquhart said members can book a day in advance.

He said: ‘Since opening the pool six weeks ago aqua aerobics has proved very popular.

‘We are reviewing the pool timetable to see where we can include additional aqua classes to meet the current demands.’

Unhappy David Fisher, 72, of Glenney Close in Lee-on-the-Solent said during half-term last week he was unable to swim as the usual 50-plus swimming session had been reduced to half the pool.

He said he would have had to wait for more than an hour to swim in the busy pool, which was filled with youngsters, but left in frustration.

‘I can’t stand longer than five minutes as I’ve got severe back problems,’ he said.

‘When I left the centre – without a swim – I met two or three others who were going home.

‘It seems silly that they could, with a bit of rearrangement, accommodate both groups as indeed the old baths did.’

Mr Urquhart said he anticipated it would be busy during half-term and split the pool in half for 50-plus and ‘all welcome’ swimmers.

He added they timed swims to comply with health and safety restrictions.

‘We will continue to listen to customer feedback and make changes over the coming months to try and accommodate as many users as possible,’ he said.