Thursday, 19 January 2017

Waterworld without a lift after four months

Wrexham's landmark Waterworld pool is without a functioning lift more than four months after it broke. The jacuzzi has also been closed since June 2016 due to a leaking roof and a £1 million loan to make improvements has still not been spent.

The news has prompted Plaid Cymru locally to question the effectiveness of the council's decision to outsource leisure facilities to Freedom Leisure, a Surrey-based company.

Marc Jones, of Plaid Cymru, asked questions of both Freedom Leisure and Wrexham Council after local residents raised concerns with him about ongoing problems at Waterworld.

He said: "Freedom Leisure has confirmed that there are outstanding long-term problems with the lift, which has been out of order since October 3rd, and the jacuzzi, which has been closed since June 2016 due to a leaking roof and 'significant' health and safety concerns. The lift being out of order is a real problem in terms of enabling people with disabilities or prams to access the leisure facilities. The reason given - a lack of replacement parts - doesn't excuse a four-month delay.

"My question to the council was whether it was monitoring the situation and about the £1 million loan it received from the Welsh Government to make improvements to Waterworld prior to Freedom Leisure taking control. It now emerges the £1m has not yet been spent so I would hope that getting the lift and other failures fixed is a priority.

"Handing over such an important service such as leisure to an outside firm shouldn't mean the council can wash its hands of any responsibility - which was the council's initial response to my inquiry. I hope the council and Freedom Leisure will now ensure that a speedy solution is found to enable everyone can fully access and enjoy the facilities."

Lawrence Isted, Wrexham's Head of Environment and Planning, responded to the inquiry by stating: 
"The operational management of Waterworld and the conduct of staff in the building are solely the responsibility of Freedom Leisure. Consequently, I am unable to help you in this case and would suggest that you make use of their complaints procedure."

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