The 1610 Leisure Centre was a wonderful addition to the sports facilities in Dorchester. Early fears of cuts to staffing when the centre transferred from its old location were quickly replaced by a sense of pride in the architectural vision and quality of the facilities. Staff seemed to have been relocated and I remember feeling tremendous pride that this magnificent building and all it had to offer were just minutes from my home. Better still, my wife and I enjoyed reduced rates as employees of the local secondary school.
It saddens me to relate that after much effort to resolve membership difficulties I have this week cancelled our subscriptions. The management of the centre decided to implement 6 monthly checks on the status of subscribers without notifying members. The first thing I knew was when my membership card would not allow me through the turnstiles and I had to be called over to reception to be told that I must bring in numerous pieces of 'evidence' to prove the validity of my subscription. I duly returned with my identity badge but this was not sufficient and nor apparently was my P60. A current payslip was acceptable and they wanted to photocopy this with all my personal details which I was not particularly happy about. It would seem I eventually had enough evidence to be approved but it looked as if my wife would not.
We have deliberated for a few weeks and made our decision to go elsewhere based on a few other factors. Firstly the attitude to the centre's own employees which seems to be poor and many have left. Secondly the state of cleanliness and maintenance at the centre. (A damaged roof from February is still not repaired as I write in May!) Thirdly the staffing levels which seem to have been reduced since opening, at least in the gym.
We are extremely disappointed to be leaving the centre as it is both convenient and very well designed in most respects. I am not as concerned about the changing facilities for the pool as some others - this is common practice in France. It is problematic that people enter the shower area with outdoor shoes which then contaminates the feet of swimmers and potentially the pool.
As others have mentioned a good cafe would really bring a much better community spirit. Bridport Leisure Centre also closed its cafe some years ago and it felt like a very different place thereafter.
I hope that in due course the franchise may be offered to a better company who are not just in the business for pure profit. Several approaches to resolve our difficulties have either gone unanswered or led to more confusion. 1610 seem not value their subscribers.
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