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Swimmers told not to tumble turn

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: November 30, 2012

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SWIMMERS at North Devon Leisure Centre have been told not to "tumble turn" at the end of a length of the pool because tiles on the pool wall have been cutting peoples' feet.

There have also been complaints the pool, which was re-opened by Merlin Cadogan at the end of April after a six month refurbishment project, is too cold.

The refurbishment project, paid for by North Devon Council, cost £1m and saw the steel work and concrete frame of the building repaired and the pool hall and changing rooms refurbished with new lockers, changing cubicles, showers and a health suite.

The pool hall's suspended ceiling was also replaced, the swimming pool tanks were cleaned and painted and the floors re-tiled.

But triathlete Ian Hindes, from Chivenor, said the job doesn't seem to have been done well enough.

He said: "They've retiled around the edge of the pool and a lot of people have caught their feet and cut them when doing tumble turns."

To get around the problem staff at the leisure centre have placed diving blocks, which sit flush with the side of the pool, into the water.

"Now if the diving blocks aren't in place they tell you not to do tumble turns.

"But if the blocks are there then you can't climb out of the pool.

"It's a big swimming pool, a cracking facility, but now there's a situation where if you want to train properly you can't really.

"I don't know a lot about building or refurbishment but it's a shame, a waste really, when you can't use a facility as you should.

And Tahni Bolshaw, 27, from Barnstaple, said the water in the pool was far too cold when she visited.

"I took my 17-month-old daughter Sophia swimming at the leisure centre and the water was so cold my daughter's hands and feet started turning blue," she said.

"A few minutes later her lips started going blue so we left after being in there for five minutes."

Tahni said when she left the reception had been too busy to complain, so she wrote a letter to the manager.

She received a reply which said the water temperature at the leisure centre is constantly checked and records showed the temperature had been fine on the day she visited.

"They gave me a free family swim voucher," she said, "which I obviously wont be using."

And Tahni said a number of other parents had also had problems with the temperature of the water at the pool.

In reply to questions from the Journal about Ian and Tahni's complaints councillor Derrick Spear, NDC's executive member for culture, said there had been problems with some tiles, which have now been fixed.

"The new tiles are standard swimming pool tiles and are fit for purpose," he said, "although they are not as hard wearing as the originals, which are no longer available.

"Parkwood Leisure is aware of this, and has issued new procedures to staff to treat the tiles more carefully, especially when inserting water polo goals or pool covers.

"Where rough or sharp edges were identified, these were temporarily covered until the building contractor was able to come back to make them smooth. Even though we're satisfied the pool edge is fit for purpose, we now intend to further improve the tile edge by building up the underside of the tile to give a fully rounded edge."

And he said the turning boards were only in place because the Amateur Swimming Association had advised NDC and Parkwood Leisure they should be in place when swimmers wish to perform tumble turns.

"As with any project this size," he added, "there is a 12 month defects period, during which the contractor will be asked to come back to rectify any unsatisfactory areas."

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