‘Complain to me about faults at Spalding pool’ – councillor

Castle Swimming Pool, Spalding, picture of David Whyte
Castle Swimming Pool, Spalding, picture of David Whyte
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A councillor promises to act in the face of a barrage of criticism about filth and mould in changing rooms at Spalding’s Castle Swimming Pool.

Coun Gary Taylor, the district portfolio holder in charge, wants pool users to complain directly to him and agreed to have his phone number published.

A line of sight into the men's changing room at Castle Swimming Pool.

A line of sight into the men's changing room at Castle Swimming Pool.

1Life, who run the council-owned pool, also promises to put things right if swimmers complain direct.

There’s been a barrage of criticism on social media, with discussions about people going to pools in other towns rather than use the Castle.

One swimmer who complained to the Free Press supplied six pictures of the men’s changing room, including one allegedly showing mould growing in the shower area and another said to show “mould and scale under lockers”.

Pool user David Whyte also complained to us, the council and 1Life, over a series of issues including “filth and grime”, masking tape keeping tiles in place and a door missing from the men’s changing room, which he says gives passers-by a direct line of sight into the spot where men get changed and “that families inadvertently walk through the men’s changing facility”.

A grille covered in dust.

A grille covered in dust.

Mr Whyte, a father of two, says his children swim in Bourne with their Spalding school and, socially, he prefers to take them swimming in Bedford.

He says the water is often too cold and told us: “My youngest child’s lips have turned blue through being in the (Spalding) children’s pool.”

Mr Whyte also questions why the Castle “is left to rot” when the council is thinking of spending £2.7million on its offices and why more money can’t be spent on the pool’s upkeep when there are so many paying users.

The outcry comes just as 1Life has begun replacing changing room floors – the women’s will be completed soon, followed by the men’s in February and then the school changing room.

Masking tape around tiles in the men's changing room.

Masking tape around tiles in the men's changing room.

There have also been complaints about the temporary changing room for women but 1Life says it was either that or close the pool.

Coun Taylor said: “I am happy to work with pool users and managers. It’s not good when we hear about people criticising it and going to neighbouring towns. It needs to be run well and it needs to be clean.

“With regards to pool temperature it needs to be consistent.”

ILife contract manager Rachel Fox said the main pool is maintained at 28C and the training pool between 29-31C.

She said: “We have a cleaner and a full team of staff. The lifeguards, as part of their job description, clean the building. A lifeguard can’t stay on pool-side for more than 90 minutes.”

Ms Fox declined to comment on pictures purporting to show mould and dirt in the men’s changing room because she was unable to check when the Free Press visited on Friday as the room was occupied.

She believes flooring at the pool looks dirty when it isn’t.

“A lot of it is to do with the end of the life of the flooring rather than dirt,” said Ms Fox. “When it’s end of life, it’s always going to look worn, isn’t it?”

She says the floors can become muddy when users fail to use blue plastic overshoes supplied.

Ms Fox said 1Life would be happy to supply a door for the men’s changing room. She said people should tell staff straight away if they find a problem “and then we can deal with it”.

Anyone who wants to raise pool issues with Coun Taylor can call him on 07850 077117.

• What do you think? Email lynne.harrison@iliffe