I feel quite sad when the topic of the Pools comes up. After such an amazing effort to keep them where they were, and the creation of such a great local facility, it still feels like a missed opportunity.
I don’t want to put all issues down to the staff, but I have been disappointed in almost every interaction I’ve had with the Fusion staff. I asked why the second pool was so cold that I couldn’t keep my daughter in it for more than a few minutes and was told that it’s definitely not a “baby pool” or a “children’s pool” and that if I wanted a nice warm pool, I should go to David Lloyd in Beckenham (this from the then pool manager). The temp is kept at the minimum recommended by the ASA, which probably means that the running costs and environmental impact are as low as possible, but doesn’t make for a great experience as a user.
I think there are fundamental flaws in the design and management of the building. For example, I’d like to take my daughter swimming during the week but the shallow pool is generally used for lessons during the day and cannot be shared. Annoyingly, we’ve been on a waiting list for lessons for nearly a year. And there’s no communication around that.
Try to go for a swim in the learner pool at 9am or 10am on a Sunday - you’ll queue for half an hour (always a joy with a toddler) and then the pool will be empty for half a session. Why not have differently coloured wristbands and just have the lifeguards move people on every 30 or every 45 mins? Most people don’t stay in for more than 30 mins anyway.
The state of the changing rooms (particularly in the winter) is a disgrace but it’s fundamentally down to the users. A lot of people don’t take outdoor shoes off, but the company doesn’t seem interested in addressing this. The corridor between changing rooms and cafe is often strewn with toys and the cafe is disheartening at best.
Having something like the pools within walking distance of so many of us, it should be busy and it should be profitable and it should be treasured. I don’t think it actually works for anyone other than the people making money from Fusion.