Fury as Swiss Cottage sports hall is trashed by leak left unrepaired for years
PUBLISHED: 13:49 13 November 2014 | UPDATED: 13:49 13 November 2014
Camden Council has apologised to users of a leisure centre, after a leak that went unrepaired for more than three years left a sports hall flooded and badminton players surrounded by buckets of water and dodging bits of crumbling ceiling.
Inaction at the council-owned Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre in Avenue Road has seen the facility’s main hall drenched in pools of water and, as one user said, looking like “an absolute tip”.
So bad has the leak become that players’ games are being interrupted by chunks of the now-fragile ceiling falling onto the courts.
It comes after the first drips from the roof were noticed by staff and players more than three years ago.
Complaints to the council from Better, the contractor that runs the centre, appear to have resulted in years of next to no progress, resulting in hazardous conditions.
As a result, the charitable social enterprise was forced to close half of the sports hall a month ago.
It has left some sports groups reliant on the facility furious at how the issue has been managed and threatening to cancel their memberships.
Cormac Meegan, of Crescent Badminton Club, said: “For years we’ve been complaining to managers about the leak.
“We’d be playing while bits of ceiling were falling down onto the courts and about seven buckets were catching water around us.
“And they were still letting us play on it.
“For years they’ve done nothing and about six weeks ago I had a very strong word with them because it became such a health hazard.
“What gets me is they’ve hiked up the prices nearly 100 per cent over the last eight months.
“If they aren’t willing to maintain the facility then why are we paying?”
Cllr Abdul Hai, Camden Council’s cabinet member for customers, communities and culture, said: “We are currently investigating the cause of the roof leak as a matter of urgency and hope to have the situation resolved shortly.
“Only part of the hall is closed, so some services are available, but we are sorry about the inconvenience to customers.”