Great British aquatic athletes joined celebrations over the completion of a £3.3m leisure centre refurbishment.
Commonwealth gold medal winning swimmer Adam Whitehead, water polo captain Fran Leighton and synchronised swimmer Adele Carlsen were alongside more than 1,000 visitors to Cheam leisure centre on Saturday taking part in inflatable fun activities in the pool group exercise classes and taster sessions.
The centre, owned by Sutton Council but run by contractors Everyone Active, has undergone essential repairs, particularly to the pool roof.
Mark Basker, the contract manager for Everyone Active, said: “The budget for the recent works was set by the local authority – this was for essential repairs to the pool roof, without which the centre would have had to have been closed permanently.
No spend was assigned to the fitness suite during this stage of refurbishment, however, £650k was spent on upgrading fitness equipment, changing rooms and the reception area in 2011 and 2012.”
The disruption caused while the work has been taking place has come in for some criticism.
David Ford wrote to the Sutton Guardian: “I have been a member at Cheam leisure for a considerable time and while the funding to upgrade the site was welcomed, the misery endured through inept planning and consideration for members has been truly woeful.
“Some three plus millions have been spent and yet the only facilities to remain open during nine months (originally six) were the gym and exercise classes.”
Mr Ford also complained temporary changing rooms were at first not supplied, and then removed a week before the new facilities were available to use.
Mr Basker confirmed temporary changing rooms were only provided two weeks after works began, and again were removed early, but explained this was as early as possible to fit in with the building contractors needs, and customers were fully briefed on the arrangements.
The Malden Road centre is now fully open again to the public.