A POOL in Tadley has been criticised for removing some leisure swim sessions from its timetable as part of a series of ‘controversial’ changes made by the management.

Tadley Health and Fitness Centre removed the midday leisure swim sessions, which used to be popular among pensioners, as part of a timetable change that came into effect on Monday, March 13.

The change attracted several complaints from regular users who were surprised when they turned up last week at the pool to see their regular sessions were replaced by baby and toddler swimming sessions.

The pensioners were shocked to know all ‘swimming for all’ leisure sessions had been removed from the new timetable.

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Following several complaints and after the Gazette asked operator Serco about the decision to remove the sessions, a pool management spokesperson confirmed that they have amended the timetable again to reintroduce the leisure swim sessions – but the new timings are from 6am to 9.30am.

The pensioners said the morning sessions would be useless for older people who prefer to go to the pool during midday when there aren’t many people.

Debbie Grey, who is one of the many pensioners to lodge a complaint, said: “We are pensioners, who want to keep fit, but don’t want to be there during weekends and early mornings amid kids and young people who go there for a swim before they go to school or office.

“It’s ridiculous, swimming among the young people.”

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Earlier when the leisure swim slots were completely taken off the timetable, Debbie told the Gazette that changes were made without any consultations.

She added: “The new timetable was revealed and there are now no leisure swims on any day of the week.

“There is nothing for older people who do not want to lane swim which is more suited to younger working people. The schedule is filled with baby and toddler lessons, schools for children and family fun, and private parties at the weekend.

“This is supposed to be a community facility I do not see it providing a service for a huge section of the community as it has in the past.”

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After the Gazette asked Serco for a comment, Basingstoke and Deane Community Leisure Trust contract manager, Guy Baber said: “We apologise to customers currently missing their dedicated weekday leisure swim sessions, but appreciate your patience during these early stages for our new timetable. We are actively recruiting for new lifeguards, and when that process is complete we will once again be able to offer these popular sessions during the week and not just at weekends, as is currently the case.

“Acting on the feedback we have received on this issue, we have recently introduced a temporary leisure swim programme, which takes place Monday to Friday, 6am-9.30am. During these times, we will adapt the swimming area and lane width to allow customers to walk in the pool, if that is their preferred option.

“Separate bookings for these specific sessions are not available to book currently via our app but will be available in around 10 days’ time. Customers can still book the sessions in centre or via the phone.”