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New £35m leisure centre in Craigavon has ‘no room for less able and older swimmers’ claims member

The new £35m South Lakes Leisure Centre in Craigavon doesn’t have enough room for older and less able swimmers, a member has claimed.

The woman, who prefers not to be named, says she feels overwhelmed in the main 50m-long swimming pool which, she claims, is regularly sectioned off for clubs and schools.

Speaking to the Portadown Times she said: “There are not enough lanes open to the public with, on average five of the eight lanes taken up by clubs or schools seven days a week.”

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The regular swimmer claims the three remaining lanes are usually full of boisterous young people diving in and splashing, leaving older less confident swimmers ‘very uncomfortable’.

The woman, who sometimes attends with her elderly mother, further claimed: “The 50 metre pool is usually kept at two metres and rarely is split into short depths.”

She said she and her mother and other less able swimmers found it difficult in the three lanes provided and particularly when it was at two metres as they were nervous at being unable to touch the bottom of the pool.

She also said her mother is unable to access online and had asked for a print-out of the weekly swimming schedule but this was not provided.

The swimmer said the website was confusing and how it is difficult for some people to access this.

There has been an ongoing debate since the closure of Waves Leisure Centre in Lurgan, Cascades in Portadown and Brownlow in Craigavon and the opening of the new leisure centre that there would be issues over lack of space in the swimming area.

With a large number of clubs and schools seeking to use the pool, the debate continues on whether the new leisure centre is catering for the Portadown, Lurgan and Craigvavon area adequately.

Statement from Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council

A spokesperson for Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council said: “South Lake Leisure Centre provides a daily extensive swimming programme for a range of customers, including the public, schools, clubs and swimming lessons.

“The facility provides daily swimming at a 1m depth for customers in the main pool. Shallow swimming is also available in the learner pool which is 0.9 to 1.2m in depth.

“This shallower depth in the main pool is provided at different times including mornings, afternoons and evenings to ensure availability for older, younger and our less able swimmers. This service is provided seven days a week.

“All swimming provision is under supervision by the SLLC professional team of lifeguards and attendants to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all users.

“A new timetable of swimming provisions including lower depth accessibility will shortly be made available to the public for the commencement of the summer programme from the start of July.

“Full details of the centres programme and facilities can be found on our Health & Recreation website getactiveabc.com however the SLLC team are also available on site to help with any queries or concerns regarding any aspect of the centre’s service provision or can be contacted on T: 0330 0564 411 or E: [email protected]

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