St Albans’ Westminster Lodge ‘too full’ for swimmers

PUBLISHED: 18:32 05 February 2013

Westminster Lodge covered in snow

Westminster Lodge covered in snow


DESPITE being able to accommodate 175 people, a woman was shocked to be turned away from the Westminster Lodge pool after being told it was “full to capacity” with only a dozen people swimming.

The London Colney mother, who wishes not be named, said she rang up on a Sunday during the festive period and was assured the pool would be open until 5pm.

But when she turned up at 4.15pm she found she was not allowed in even though there were just 13 people swimming. She said: “It doesn’t make sense, we’ve got a 10 lane pool.

“I spoke to the girl at reception and said ‘you know this isn’t good’ and she said ‘I know, I know’.”

The full-time nurse, who said she didn’t have “time to waste”, has also been turned away on two additional occasions due to unadvertised swimming parties.

“The first time we went we’d been told that it was open until 5pm and we got there and it was closed due to a swimming party.”

Her family were left with only half an hour to swim which the management gave them for free.

On the second trip when another party was going on, the nurse said a member of staff was dealing with somebody else and she had to give up and walk off.

She said of the unexpected parties: “I don’t understand. I don’t get it.

“Pools are going to have private parties – I’m not objecting that – just have it at a time when it’s clear.”

She added: “It’s just basic pool organisation,” adding: “It seems that the management are not communicating properly with reception staff.

“My husband said the website hasn’t been helpful. It’s been contradicting.”

The 46 year old, who grew up swimming at the St Albans pool, said they offered some discounts for people in health and teaching.

But she added: “It’s not going to be value for money if it’s not open and you can’t go after all.”

Speaking about her more successful trips swimming trips at the leisure centre she said: “Yes it’s been fine, it’s just they’re not communicating clearly when they’re actually open.”

She added: “When it’s three times you think there’s an issue.”

Alison Norman, contract manager at the Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre, said she was sorry to hear that the woman had trouble finding suitable times to swim at the centre.

“Our timetable offers extensive opportunities for swimming from early until late every day.”

She said the leisure centre was still investigating the circumstances surrounding the complaint, adding: “I would welcome the chance to meet with her and find out more so we can help resolve the problem.”

She added: “Meanwhile, I am happy to say that customers can be sure that all up to date timetables and information about centre facilities can be found on our website.”

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Recently we, as a family (minus two of the kids), visited The Lodge RSPB reserve in Sandy, Bedfordshire. I had never been before, which is perhaps amiss of me as a birdwatcher as it is the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or RSPB and only 45 minutes drive from home.

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