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Blue Pool under fire as disabled user criticises facilities

A LOCAL disabled woman is criticising the upkeep and cleanliness of Melksham Blue Pool and fears that it will only get worse, as Wiltshire Council refuse to invest any money into the site, that will be moving to the Melksham Campus earmarked for 2021. 

Jacqui Prior approached Melksham News to tell us of her concern about the facilties at the Blue Pool. Jacqui is a disabled user and feels her needs are not being fulfilled with the lack of accessibility, both to the centre and into the swimming pool, and the cleanliness of the whole area. 

Jacqui said, “It is such a shame as Melksham has a lot going for it, but it’s worrying as the state of the toilets, pool and even the roof is terrible! The disabled toilet is disgusting, male and female toilets have black mould growing on them and the roof in the foyer has a hole in it and buckets underneath to catch water. 

“I am currently waiting on two new hips and two new knees and I depend on this place to manage my condition so that I don’t get stiff. Active Health is a scheme to keep people healthy and out of hospital and is really important at local levels, yet we aren’t given appropriate facilities. The gym equipment is broken and tatty, taped up and frequently out of order.  

“Also, I struggle to use the swimming pool as I cannot use a ladder to get in and out. They tell me that they have a hoist – but I don’t want to use it as it’s undignified and risky, I want to get in the way everyone else does. I have pitched to them the idea of adding in steps, which is something I would be able to use. 

“Parking is a huge issue for me as well since they have taken away disabled spaces with the new Market Place. I physically cannot walk from the public car parks – and Melksham is supposed to be age-friendly!

“The place is in need of a deep clean but it seems beyond Places for People. We all pay membership and expect to come to a clean area and be able to access all that we pay for. If the centre is not moving yet, then they should clean it and improve it at low cost. I have even put to them about crowdfunding money to add in steps to the pool and fix the roof, but they didn’t seem to welcome the idea.”

A Wiltshire Council spokesperson said “It is essential that our sports facilities are kept clean and in good condition. We have addressed the issues raised as a matter of urgency with Places Leisure, who are responsible for managing the facility on behalf of and in partnership with Wiltshire Council.

“Melksham Blue Pool will remain open until the new campus is built and we will continue to ensure that the Blue Pool is maintained effectively until this time. Places Leisure have confirmed they are planning to redecorate the Fitness Suite and have recently ordered new resistance equipment for the centre which will be installed in due course.”

 Places Leisure said, “Our customers’ experience is the utmost priority for us, and we are committed to offering a service which can be enjoyed by all members of our community.

 “In light of the recent customer comments, a thorough inspection will be completed and our contract cleaner has been scheduled to carry out a deep clean to ensure that our expected standard of cleanliness is met and maintained.”

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