COUNCILLORS have threatened to refer Greenwich Leisure Limited to the public health watchdog unless communication from the firm improves.

The company failed to respond to council attempts to contact its officials ahead of a public meeting at which it was to update residents on plans for the new Link Centre library, getting in touch only at the last minute to say it would miss the event.

Greenwich Leisure (GLL) is responsible for leisure services across the borough.

Councillors said problems reported with the male showers at the Link Centre gave cause to refer the company to the health watchdog in a bid to open communications.

GLL has promised to be at the next meeting, when key decisions will be made.

Coun Mick Bray (Con, Lydiard and Freshbrook) told the meeting: “Despite repeated letters and emails we had no response from GLL until they came back to us and said they would not attend.

“There are ways that we can deal with people like this if we were so minded. My son, who uses the showers here, has said they are in an appalling condition, so I recommend we refer them to the public health watchdog.”

Councillors said they tried to make contact with the company five times by phone and email, with no response.

Coun Jim Robbins (Lab, Mannington and Western) said the inability of councillors to hold the company to account was worrying.

“We are really disappointed they refused to show up because people are clearly concerned about what is happening and want to be informed,” he said.

“People are worried, and for them simply not to turn up makes all those people all the more concerned.

“If referring them to the public health watchdog would mean we can get them around the table, and put them under pressure, I am pleased that our concerns about them failing to engage with us are shared.

“It is a real concern when they are responsible for our leisure services.

“Our role as councillors is if we are no longer running services we need to hold those who provide them to account and make sure things are in the best interest of Swindon residents. If they are not engaging with us we can’t do that.

“I was really concerned that they were not even responding to emails or answering phone calls.

“It feels they were very approachable when they were in the bidding process to take on the contract and now that line of communication does not seem to be as open as it was.

“We were hoping that the residents of West Swindon and the people that use the library and those communal spaces could have an input into what their library would look like.”

A spokesman for GLL said: “GLL declined the invitation to be present at the public meeting held on March 9, 2015 as we are still in discussion with Swindon Borough Council regarding the redevelopment of the gym and library facilities at the Link Centre, and no key decisions have yet been made.

“We will, however, be attending the next scheduled meeting on June 8 to keep local residents informed about plans and progress.”