South Lake Leisure Centre to Pilot New Customer Guidelines

August 10, 2021
Since opening in November 2020 South Lake Leisure Centre has faced significant challenges due to the pandemic, but this has not detracted from the exceptional success of the facility with an average of 66,500 visitors during the months of June and July alone.


Managing visitor numbers on this scale during the pandemic has been complex – particularly as restrictions started to ease – with public expectation increasing in relation to service availability and access, needing to be balanced with council’s ongoing public safety priorities for users and staff, to ensure the successful reintroduction of service provision.

Councillor Keith Haughian, Chair of the Leisure Services committee said:

“People may have questioned council’s decision to open South Lake Leisure Centre last year due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and public health restrictions, but it has been a phenomenal success for the region at an exceptionally challenging time for the leisure industry.”

He added: “The amenities at the centre have brought a new energy to the area, with visitors coming from far and wide. I have no doubt that this success is a direct result of the effective management and promotion of the centre, with officers continuing to prioritise the safety of customers and staff and the user experience, particularly as restrictions eased.” 

Council is continually reviewing the safe reintroduction of services at the centre, and acknowledges that this may impact on service access until ‘normal’ operations can return post Covid-19. However, council will now pilot a number of new measures to improve availability for customers and enhance the user experience.

Measures such as the removal of the pre-booking system for the main pool at South Lake, and reducing social distancing measures to one metre plus in the changing room for the pool will be introduced from Tuesday 17 August, subject to continual review. A second phase of the pilot is planned for gym and class availability, pending the successful delivery of the initial swimming pilot.

Councillor Haughian continued:

“I am delighted that these new measures will provide greater public access to the main swimming pool at the centre, and I am assured that as they are introduced council officers will be closely monitoring the situation.”

Customer feedback is also being addressed, as it has been acknowledged that due to the large volume of enquiries coming into the centre, with for example over 10,800 inbound calls averaging 336 a day in July, the centre phone lines have been exceptionally busy causing frustration for customers.

The centre has now introduced additional support to enable customers to cancel classes more efficiently, freeing up spaces for other users to book and make enquiries.

To view full details of the pilot changes taking effect from Tuesday 17 August click here.

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