More than 1,600 members of the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre have been barred from using some of the facilities during the Olympics while the Brazilians use it as a training base – and will
not be refunded.
The Olympic pool and all racquet facilities will be out of action between July 16 and August 22 as the Brazilian Olympic squad are using the centre as their base during the games.
Regular users of the centre, run by GLL, have been told they will not be refunded and instead told to share the smaller swimming pool with others during the busy summer holidays or travel to Ealing
or London Fields, east London – GLL’s only other centres with 50m pools.
The gym and the 25m training pool will remain open and fitness classes will continue, but one centre member said she felt used by the centre and deserved more as a loyal customer.
She said: “I think they have done me down.
“I like going there so much they have really got me over a barrel.
“The least they can do is offer me a month’s discount when I renew next April. I would be satisfied with that. It is just their disingenuousness really.
“They say that it is an honour to have the Brazil team at the centre, but it means I have to go somewhere else.
“Some people use the gym more than the swimming pool, which is fine, but I use the pool more so I feel particularly put out.”
With the summer holidays soon to be in full swing use of the remaining facilities will be in high demand.
The centre, which is run by GLL under the Better brand, has nearly 3,000 members and 1,625 members will lose out on at least one of the services.
Members pay up to £520 a year for full access while those who just pay for sports and swimming pay £32.95 and £27.95 a month.
A GLL spokeswoman said pre-paid members can use any of the 100 London-based Better leisure centres as an alternative for no extra cost with pay as you play members paying the local rate.
She said a number of customers had asked about the service disruption and she apologised for the inconvenience caused but refused to say refunds would be given.
She said: “We will be happy to discuss alternative membership arrangements with customers who are unhappy with the temporary changes.”
But when asked what alternative membership arrangements meant, she would not comment any further.
The spokeswoman also refused to say how much the Brazilian team paid to secure the deal, but said the money would help pay for improvements to changing rooms, sports floors, accommodation at the
Lodge and a new sand sports area that have already been put in place.
The spokeswoman said: “We hope that our members will join us in supporting this once in a lifetime opportunity to play a crucial role in the 2012 London Olympics.”
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