'Teething problems' after leisure centre takeover

'Teething problems' after leisure centre takeover

Philip Dewey

'Teething issues' have been felt by Parkwood Leisure in its takeover of Royal Borough leisure centres, according to the council's head of leisure services.

The Royal Borough's leisure, culture and libraries overview and scrutiny panel met last night to discuss the progression of the takeover.

Parkwood Leisure took over the management of The Magnet, Cox Green, Windsor and Charters leisure centres from the Royal Borough in January, but conversion to a new IT system has led to queues while people are trying to sign in

.Speaking at the meeting, head of leisure services Kevin Mist said: "There have been some teething issues with the new IT system converting the 40,000 members which has led to some digestion problems to start with.

"Parkwood are only in week four of their contract so one always anticipates teething problems but we have still been able to operate the centres."

Other issues brought up at the meeting included the withdrawal of promotional offers, which has proved controversial with leisure centre users with a 400 signature petition against the move to privatisation.

Former Mayor and panel member Cllr Andrew Jenner (Con, Riverside) said: "There were reports about charges and the issue of special offers which ran afoul with Parkwood and residents.

"It got to the stage where special offers were no longer special but were considered the norm by our customers."

Kevin Mist added that five per cent of leisure centre users had been affected by the reduction of special offers but said Parkwood was looking at introducing their own special offers later on.

He said: "Our special offers did not change often so we were giving them to the same group of people all the time but Parkwood will change their offers to attract a more wide range of people.”

The meeting took place at Maidenhead Town Hall.

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