MOULD, mildew, leaks, tears, filth and fungus are among the problems reported at Oxford’s ailing Temple Cowley Gym.
Users have claimed the decades-old building, and the Temple Cowley Pool, are being left in ruin by Oxford City Council . Gym user Yoosef Maghsoodi said the old facility, earmarked for closure once the new state-of-the-art Blackbird Leys pool is built, is not up to scratch.
The 59-year-old retired scientist and Cowley resident claimed he pays £41 per month to use the equipment and facilities, but was receiving a poor service.
He said: “Oxford City Council has refused to carry out basic essential repairs even to the gym’s broken air conditioning system for more than six months now and instead they have placed two dirty heavy duty fans on the floor.
“This is not healthy and safe and it defeats the object of a health and fitness centre as the fans continuously recycle the unclean, contaminated, dusty and sweaty air of the gym back into the faces and the lungs of the gym users.”
He reported other issues, including damaged equipment, mildew, damp and fungus in the shower areas, and urinals which he said had leaked for three weeks.
Mr Maghsoodi said: “Hundreds of other people have to use this gym, and a lot of people are upset, but they don’t like to speak up about it.”
Plans to demolish the leisure centre and build a new pool elsewhere in the city met with mixed reactions.
Some campaigners want to see the facility saved and kept open, and recent delays to the Blackbird Leys pool development have caused uproar.
Meanwhile, Oxford Swimming Club’s Ian Smith said the standard of the pool at Temple Cowley was also poor.
He said: “The facility has had its day. It’s in a very poor condition.
“The seating is rusting and broken, the pool itself is very fragile, and we’ve had problems with the temperature control. We’ve very, very concerned it’s not going to last the winter.”
The facility costs £500,000 a year to run, and the city council says it has already spent £97,000 on maintenance this year.
Council spokesman Annette Cunningham said: “Our gym members are entitled to use all of our gym facilities across the city and we’re sorry that some of our members have cause for complaint with the standard of the Temple Cowley gym.
“We take our customer comments very seriously and aim to be responsive to customer needs across our facilities.
“A programme to repair all of the faults at Temple Cowley, which due to the age of the facility is becoming more difficult to maintain, is underway, starting with the work to make good the rust behind the lockers and vents.
“A replacement pad for the damaged workbench is on order.”
The signs are not good:
When the Oxford Mail visited the pool, our reporter was greeted by a sign saying that there was a temperature problem with the showers and warned they were cold to tepid.
In the female changing rooms, there was mould on the walls and ceiling, some of the wall tiles were chipped or broken and there was a sign peeling off the wall.
The shower pipes were rusty and the water was cold.
In the pool, the diving boards at the end of the pool had rusted and the seating surrounding the pool looked worn. One of the small pools was closed off, along with three rusty springboards and a broken sign informing swimmers of the closure.
Scaffolding surrounded one of the pillars to the side of the pool.