‘Leisure centres dirty with not enough staff’

Witney Gazette: District Councillor Peter Kelland District Councillor Peter Kelland

LEISURE centres in West Oxfordshire have been criticised for being dirty and lacking enough staff in a new report.

West Oxfordshire District Council conducted a review into how GLL Nexus was operating its leisure centres across the district.

It said although the level of service was high on the whole there were issues with cleanliness and staffing at the centres.

But the report said measures had now been taken to improve the situation.

GLL Nexus runs leisure centres in Witney, Carterton, Eynsham and Chipping Norton as well as an outdoor pool in Woodstock.

The report was discussed at a district council economic and social overview and scrutiny committee meeting. Head of leisure and tourism Diana Shelton said: “Although the contract was running well, some issues did come out.

“These were mainly around the presentation and cleanliness of the centres, but we also received some feedback about the level of staff in fitness suites.”

Mrs Shelton said the merger between GLL (Greenwich Leisure Ltd) and Nexus in January 2011 had been handled well and had paved the way for investment in Witney and planned investment in Chipping Norton and Carterton.

Councillor Peter Kelland said: “Staffing levels were pretty dire in some places. In Eynsham one member of staff had to run the reception and fitness suite.”

He said GLL Nexus was also “narrow minded” in its sports offer and urged the company to bring in more activities to attract residents.

He added: “We visited during the school holidays and there were only 10 or 15 people in Chipping Norton and only one in Eynsham.

“Then we went to Hilltop Garden Centre and there were 300 people there looking to go on the ice rink.”

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Councillors agreed to review the operation of the centres again in 12 months time, with an interim report produced in six months.

GLL Nexus, which was given a 10-year contract, in 2006, runs the leisure centres in Witney, Carterton Chipping Norton and Eynsham, and the open air swimming pool in Woodstock.

A spokeswoman for the company said last night: “We constantly review how we clean our leisure centres are and expect extremely high standards of presentation within them.

“If we have a dip in presentation standards, for example following an extremely busy period, we ensure this is quickly addressed and this fact is acknowledged within the report.”

She said staff vacancies created by people moving to Witney following the recent investment, particularly in Carterton, had now been filled.

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