COUNCILLORS are pushing for improvements at a well-used and much-loved facility in Tadley that has seen its standards slip recently.

The Tadley Health and Fitness Centre, used by hundreds of residents in Tadley and the surrounding areas, has witnessed “far too frequent pool closures, constant breakdowns in the health suite and plant room and a decline in overall cleanliness”.

Liberal Democrat councillors Jo Slimin (Tadley and Pamber ward) and Kerry Morrow (Tadley North, Kingsclere and Baughurst ward) are now pushing for immediate improvement measures by Serco, which operates the centre.

The councillors said the jacuzzi and the showers at the centre have been out of use for a long time with no sign of repair and there are issues with booking swimming lessons.

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Cllr Slimin oversaw the building of the Tadley Pool which was successfully opened in 1998 when she was leading the Liberal Democrat group then running Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.

She said: “A lot of hard work was put in to deliver the pool which was the most wanted leisure facility for residents then and still is today, so it was with a heavy heart that I learnt that the standards at Tadley Health and Fitness Centre had been allowed to slip by the operator Serco and I knew I needed to take urgent action to get improvements delivered quickly.

“Users of the facility deserve better and are rightly raising alarm bells with the current operation.”

Fellow local Liberal Democrat Cllr Kerry Morrow visited the centre with his wife in December and was shocked at the state of disrepair.

A conversation in the sauna with concerned members snowballed into a large number of complaints from the public being shared with the two councillors.

Cllr Kerry said: “My role as a councillor is to pass on local issues where I find them and, in this case, we set about informing Serco and the borough about the many complaints.”

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The borough council monitor the performance of Serco with regular meetings and site visits by authority officers.

However, the councillors said the officers were unaware of the level or nature of some of these concerns as they had not been passed on to them.

After positive meetings between the Lib Dem councillors, and works by the officers, a comprehensive list of concerns was provided to Serco with a demand on them to produce a timed action plan for improving the facilities.

The two councillors said positive changes are already being seen with a new cleaning regime. A deep clean of the changing village and poolside floors is happening shortly and new cleaning equipment has been purchased to help the staff do their jobs more efficiently.

Future upgrading of the toilets is planned for April-June and there are plans for more improvements in the pipeline.

After their latest meeting on February 15 with borough officers, the councillors further said: “We are extremely disappointed that Tadley Health and Fitness Centre has been so neglected and that the operator has allowed the service to our residents to drop so low. However, we are delighted with the response from borough officers and are pleased to see the initial improvements already happening.

“Moving forward, we would like to see an improved complaints procedure being introduced by Serco as only with feedback can a business learn and improve. We also want to see better communication with the public. We will continue to monitor the improvements and demand a better service at Tadley Health and Fitness Centre.”

A spokesperson for Basingstoke & Deane Community Leisure Trust said: “We are aware of the recent comments made by councillors regarding operational issues at Tadley Health & Fitness Centre. Working closely with key council personnel, we have developed a plan of improvements, which will address each of the issues raised. Some elements of the plan have already been implemented, but customers should look forward to seeing further positive changes around the facility in 2023. These include many parts of the centre being redecorated and refurbished, including our reception area, sauna and gym.”