Forest Hill Pools

Hi all,

Many of you have written to us/ posted messages on here and Twitter about issues at Forest Hill Pools. We have passed on all of your complaints and have spoken to council officers; I am also due to meet Fusion representatives shortly and will then post an update on this forum. In addition, we’ve arranged for representatives from Fusion and Lewisham Council to attend the next Forest Hill Assembly to address residents’ questions. It’s on 16th February at 1.30pm (venue TBC) - please come along to put your questions to them.

Thanks,
Councillor Sophie Davis

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Thanks @SophieDavis :+1:

All - I will close the previous mega topic discussing Forest Hill pools so the conversation can continue here.

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Thanks. I want to join a gym but won’t join this one under current circumstances.

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I agree with the above. Im amazed Fusion still have the contract when the pools are so very badly run.
I used to use the pool regularly but finally gave up as the changing areas and ladies toilets were filthy and pool badly monitored
Classes were always cancelled at the last miniute, gym equipment out of order for ages and calls to reception to enquire about classes (i.e.; is my class happening or not?) often involved hanging on for ages or reception staff being clueless.
such a shame as its a relatively new facility and I was delighted when it opened but after putting up with the filth and poor management for 3 years I have given up and won’t return until I hear its being properly run

Hi all,

Just a reminder that Fusion are attending the Assembly this Saturday 16th February (1.30pm-3.30pm at FH Pools). If you’re unable to attend but would like a question asked, please email me at cllr_sophie.davis@lewisham.gov.uk.

I will then post a summary of what was discussed at the Assembly, as well as my meetings with Fusion and council officers on this and other local forums.

Many thanks,
Sophie

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Compared to The Bridge, Forest Hill Pools is like a palace. They actually have to section off one end of the learner pool when it rains and they clearly don’t spend the cash on heating the water. The manual temperature dials on reception are a nice touch, But completely misleading. Oh, and you’ll need to pay for parking if you dare to spend more than 90 minutes there… I do wonder how these companies keep their contracts. Surely it would be cheaper for the council to run the facilities into the ground without the need for private involvement?

Yeah, me too. I suspect councils fail to hire and incentivise sufficient numbers of proficient staff to negotiate with and monitor the contractors. I have a feeling they often treat contracted out services as if they don’t need to worry about the service or contract until it becomes time to renegotiate.

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fusion lost their contract with southwark a few years ago.

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Hi all,

As you know, we (councillors) received a number of complaints regarding Forest Hill Pools. I met Lance Codling (FH Pools Manager), Lee Clark (Lewisham Divisional Manager) and responsible Council officers to discuss the issues.

I also invited Fusion to attend our Assembly meeting last weekend, to address residents. Below is a quick summary of what was discussed (as well as what I have been told separately) regarding specific issues.

  • Gym equipment not working: All bar one of the machines have now been fixed. Fusion had issues with their subcontractor and FH Pools are now using a different one.

  • Diving blocks not working: They are currently being repaired.

  • Barriers not working: Staff are waiting on a date for repair - should be done within the next few weeks.

  • Insufficient classes (yoga and Pilates), classes being scheduled at the wrong time (eg at school pick up) and being regularly cancelled: Fusion are currently looking for instructors; the class programme is being reviewed and a new one will be in place in April. Customer surveys are being done in advance of that. The policy is to cover classes cancelled due to annual leave and to let all customers who have booked know.

  • Locker thefts (which mostly took place in the Autumn): Improved security has been put in place (while CCVT cannot of course be installed in wet changing rooms, staff are monitoring them more closely). Staff have apprehended the culprit and the matter has been referred to the Police. We (councillors) are following this up with FH Police.

  • Staff shortages: Fusion continue to look for staff. They are currently running a lifeguard course as well as apprenticeships.

  • Poor level of cleanliness: Fusion have cleaners in for 4 hours of the day and staff and complementing this as and when necessary; they will be more vigilant about people wearing overshoes in changing rooms.

  • Water temperature (too low): There was a boiler issue, which is now fixed. The contract with Lewisham includes a self monitoring system - Fusion have to notify Lewisham every time the water falls below the required level.

  • Lack of engagement with customers: Lance Codling holds a monthly “meet the manager” and Fusion carry out user and non user surveys.

  • Plastic merchandise being sold in the lobby - There are mixed views on this (some people like them, while others don’t). In the past, Fusion had toys and books in the lobby but those got damaged easily. They will look into providing a better mix.

  • Pool use for children with disabilities: Fusion will look into this more.

  • Loud music in gyms: Staff can change it if customers speak to them.

  • Fusion financial position: Lance Codling referred this to Fusion directors. Councillors will make sure that the wider financial position (and the question of whether poor performance is due to pressure to cut costs) is raised at the next meeting between officers and Fusion directors.

Lewisham Council officers have told me that they are aware of residents’ concerns and are working hard to address them, applying the strictest monitoring regime available within the contract (including financial penalties where the service does not mean the minimum standard) and meeting Fusion directors regularly. We (councillors) are in regular contact with officers to highlight issues, apply pressure and discuss what more can be done.

We will also continue to liaise with Fusion (directly at the local level and via officers at the corporate level) and to monitor the situation and track improvements (and of course hold them to specific commitments). Please continue to send us your comments (good or bad), as well as sending them directly to Lewisham Council, and we will continue to keep you informed on here.

Many thanks,

Sophie

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Hello All,

As part of our ongoing development at the centre we have recently launched a 60+ afternoon at the centre. The sessions will run every Friday with a social element running from 1.15-2.15pm. The social element is free, and is open to members and non members. This social session follows the 60+ Pilates class. Please can you let anyone you feel would benefit about this know.

We thank you for your patience around the other issues, but are taking positive steps forward to enhance what we do for the residents of Forest Hill

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Hi all,

You may be aware that a serious leak/flood has occurred at Forest Hill pools, which has led to water coming through into reception from somewhere in the first floor shower/toilets facilities.

The Council is aware and officers have attended the site and are liaising with Fusion and technical advisers to agree on a course remedial action.

The latest we know is that the first floor changing rooms and disabled toilets have been taken out of service and that water to the area has been turned off to prevent further waste from being discharged. The lockers, gym, studios and community room on the first floor are still all accessible. The opportunity will be taken to conduct a deep clean of the first floor changing areas and the reception area below.

In order to address the issue a further independent survey of the pipework is being commissioned by the Council and, once the root cause has been identified, work should proceed promptly.

We will pass on any more updates we receive from officers, and Fusion.

On a wider note, since Fusion attended our Assembly meeting, Council officers have been meeting with Fusion directors, who have now agreed to a remedial plan. More details of this will be shared shortly, to enable residents to track and report on progress.

Many thanks,
Sophie (Cllr Sophie Davis)

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I’m sorry but I find it shocking that Fusion have managed to retain the contract for Lewisham leisure services.
I joined the pools when they opened but after 2 years of problems with hygiene maintenance and class cancellations at short or no notice I gave up and joined elsewhere.
This is a relatively new building and the fact that things like this should happen is shocking. I’ve regularly attended swimming and gym in original victorian buildings and had none of these kind of problems.

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I went to spin once… struggled to find a bike that worked! Clearly not spending the money there. Are councils stuck with Fusion as a provider? It’s a shame as people will go elsewhere…

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I quit my Forest Hill Pools membership in disgust in 2016 after all six of the first floor women’s showers were out of order for over six months. Fusion just didn’t seem to care and blamed it on a dispute between the council and the building contractor (Wilmot Dixon). Disgraceful situation. I’d been considering rejoining (presumably the showers were eventually fixed :unamused:) but certainly won’t be doing so now.

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Typically these leisure management contracts last for 10 years or more

To be frank, we’ve been hearing the same excuses and resolutions pretty much since the pools opened. What should have been a positive focus for the neighbourhood, something to be proud of and of course somewhere that might help address ongoing society health issues; has sadly fallen well short. As a parent it is an endurance to take children to lessons. The rank uncleanliness, shoddy upkeep, lack of adequate administration, continuing breakages and out of orders; are absolutely not good enough. The council need to take matters in hand as things will only get worse. Which will reflect bad on their management of the situation.

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The gym is terrible compared to energie fitness over the road and costs more to use. It also compared very poorly to brockwell lido which has a great gym and a spa for roughly the same price as first hill pools. If there is any way for the council to intervene they should be doing so.

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I just don’t recognise this negative picture. My wife and I go to the over-sixties swimming sessions every Monday and Thursday morning and love it.

Try going to the poolside toilets in the evening. At least one toilet is always broken, wet tissue all over the floor, normally a big poo in one and wee all over the seats. If these are really being cleaned regularly then patrons of the pool must have disgusting toilet manners!

And they still can’t figure out how to put a thermostats on the showers, always boiling hot!

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I walked into a cubicle that had a babies soiled nappy stuck to the side of the cubicle. When I brought this to the attention of a staff member I was told that sadly it happens quite a lot. I am not surprised some of the staff looked demotivated a lot of the time.

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