Mansfield pool’s reduced opening hours are criticised

Water Meadows Leisure Pool
Water Meadows Leisure Pool

A controversial move to slash the opening hours of a swimming pool at Mansfield’s Water Meadows has been criticised by councillors.

A proposal had been put forward to reduce the hours of the leisure pool, with its slides and wave machine, by 18 hours a week.

The idea was attacked during the recent full council meeting, and in a motion to the council, Coun Sonya Ward called for the idea to be scrapped.

She said: “I think what we are seeing here is not a development, it’s not progress, it’s services being run down.

“Leisure services were never there to make a profit, but for all sorts of social reasons, an opportunity to get out of the house to keep people healthy and keep obesity down.

“Mansfield has a very proud history of good swimmers and I’m really saddened that we are looking at a reduction in hours.”

Since 2012, Serco has run the leisure centres as managing agent to the Mansfield District Leisure Trust.

Mansfield District Council, in partnership with leisure trust, has invested more than £1m since 2012 and say there has been a membership increase of 85 per cent.

But following research they highlighted ‘very quiet periods’ and revised the timetable - to be implemented in the coming weeks.

During the recent council meeting, 26 councillors voted against making the changes, with just two in favour, including Mansfield mayor Tony Egginton.

He said: “Having reviewed the report and considered the comments made at full council, I have reaffirmed the delegated decision as I am satisfied that customers were consulted as part of the robust decision-making process. It will ensure that the centre’s staffing and pool are utilised more effectively to meet the needs of people who use it.”

As part of the changes, the leisure pool hours will only be reduced by 4.5 hours during school holidays.

The main pool times opening times will remain unchanged throughout.