Cupar pool refurbishment leaves some swimmers cold

Not everyone was impressed with the changes at Cupar Leisure Centre, which has re-opened  after a three-month closure
Not everyone was impressed with the changes at Cupar Leisure Centre, which has re-opened after a three-month closure

Disappointed users of Cupar’s swimming pool have expressed their dismay amid claims that the facility is in a worse state than before its refurbishment.

The pool, which is part of a complex managed by Fife Sports and Leisure Trust, re-opened on April 8 after a lengthy closure.

An open day is due to be held this Sunday, April 19, to showcase the improvements, which are said to include better access for disabled users, a refurbished reception area, new lockers in the changing area and upgraded public areas.

However, Cupar resident Claire Easingwood says that her first visit to the pool following its three-month closure proved to be a major let-down.

Claire, who is in her late 60s and partially sighted, told the Fife Herald that swimming several times a week was essential to her health and well-being.

But she was shocked at the state of the pool – and unhappy about the fact that it now doesn’t open until 10am on Sundays, denying her and a friend their peaceful early-morning swim.

“Imagine my dismay when I arrived for my first swim to be told that there were cold showers only because the new boiler, installing which I understood to be the purpose of the long closure, had shut down,” she said.

“When I entered the changing rooms, I found them in an even more dilapidated state than before the closure.

“The toilet, which had been out of order in December, is still out of order. The remaining toilet is open to a bare brick wall, clearly still being worked on.

“The broken, battered locker doors still dangle from their hinges. The changing area looks sadly untended. The concern of the staff on duty was evident, having to deal with the stream of complaints from disappointed users.”

Claire also accused Fife Sports and Leisure Trust of “discourtesy” to its older users in not canvassing opinion before “arbitrarily” changing Sunday opening hours, which meant that she and her friend would no longer be able to enjoy their 8.30am swim.

A Fife Sports and Leisure Trust spokesperson said there had been an issue with the new boiler that was quickly rectified and that the toilet was being repaired as a matter of priority.

“Most of Fife Council’s investment has involved ‘behind the scenes’ works, however there are some improvements to the changing areas,” said the spokesperson.

“The Trust received additional money from Fife Council during the works and has invested in new lockers for both wet and dry changing areas at the centre – rather than delay opening until they were delivered, a decision was made to open the centre so customers could access facilities.”

The spokesperson said the timetable changes had been made to accommodate a new fitness and swimming programme aimed at all ages and abilities.

She added: “As with any centre, programming is a challenge to suit everyone’s needs.”