Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

As a regular user of both Park Road and Tottenham Green pools, I think that facilities are getting worse under the new contract with Fusion Leisure. I know it's early days but they seem even more inefficient than the previous lot.

Park Road was disgustingly dirty last time I went - both the changing rooms and the water, with which there has long been something of a problem.

Tottenham Green is usually clean enough, but pools have been closed more than once in recent weeks because of boiler problems (which, granted, they probably inherited). When there are emergency closures it's never put on the website, and (as before) it's impossible to contact them by phone. Also the ticket-selling computer system has been changed and now takes even longer per person, so you can waste ages trying to get in.

Fusion has grand plans to rebuild/redesign both the leisure centres in the coming years, but I think they need to prove they can run them properly to begin with.

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I agree! I was at Park Road yesterday and it was pretty grubby. Worse than that for me is the line of men who loiter at the end of the pool to watch the women. I don't go there to be gawked at. What are the rules on men standing around and not swimming?

Yes, the token "women-only" session on Fridays is very badly managed - male life attendants, men often "loitering" as you say. At least in Tottenham, because of the Jewish and Muslim communities there is a real commitment to women-only swims.

Thanks for posting this, I have also been very disappointed by recent visits to Tottenham Green.

At the end of last term I had a very frustrating time trying to rebook children's swimming lessons during 'priority rebooking week' as a new system of booking had been introduced by Fusion but key staff members on reception had not been trained to use it. Therefore we and other parents were repeatedly told to come back at other times in order to be able to book, having origionally been told we could rebook any time. The reception staff seemed very frustrated and some were pretty rude. This obviously added to the already terrible queues.

Yesterday I arrived at the pool with my two children, queued for twenty minutes to pay our money but only when we arrived on the poolside we were told that the children's pool area was closed until 4pm, apparently since the new managers had introduced a new system which requires three lifeguards to open both pools but were only employing two lifegaurds before 4pm. This means that non swimmers have to swim in the shallow end of the main pool, half of which has been roped off for lanes. I was told that this would be the case every week day but that it would be open at weekends between 9 am and 1pm. I have tried three times to call today and get confirmation of this but they havent answered the phone. This would be a big shame for my family as my pre school children use the children's pool during the day.

I have sent two emails of complaint to Fusion via their website 'feedback' system but no response yet.

Please, before you start criticising Fusion's performance, they only have been in charge for only a month. The best time to judge whether the service has improved is around twelve months time. Check back then.

Fusion has had to take over a badly-managed leisure facility in Tottenham Green, which probably has  demoralised staff, and is trying to turn things around. It will take time to get things right. If you still aren't satisfied, locals can go to other leisure amenities in the neighbouring boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Hackney, Islington, Enfield and Waltham Forest, all within easy reach.

Responses via Twitter:

(With regard to the second tweet HoL has spoken to both Clifford and Fusion and will report back on the outcome soon)

I'll be interested to see how Tottenham Green progresses. The poolside was spectacularly filthy under the old management - I once saw a river of filthy water running out of the broom cupboard near the entrance to the changing rooms. When I opened the door, the cupboard housed the dirtiest collection of mops I've ever seen. I've been once since Fusion took over, and that level of filth at least was no longer present - the poolside was cleanish, and the mops were new. Changing rooms remained grubby and run-down-feeling as ever. Fingers crossed for improvements in the new year.

So to catch up on Clifford Tibber's tweet from yesterday (see my comment above).

I spoke with Clifford on the phone and he told me that he was angry with Fusion because, having broken his leg recently, he tried to gain access to the Park Road Gym with his physiotherapist as part of his recovery therapy. He was told that not only would he need to pay a £7 entrance fee for his physio, but that experienced practitioner would also need to pay £40 to be trained to use the very same equipment he's been using for years.

After I finished the call with Clifford, I spoke with Tony Harrison, Gym Manager at Park Road who was very helpful and understanding. I got back to Clifford and put the two in touch and I've just heard from Clifford with the following message:

Just spent an hour with Tony. I have joined the gym for a month and the Physio can come in free with me. Thanks again. Cliff

Sounds like Fusion have been very responsive on this occasion.

I agree that we need to give Fusion time to get things in order. When services changed hands in Lambeth over 15 years ago both Clapham pool and Brixton sports centre, which I used frequently, improved drastically. I do not know how things have gone since. I do not know why Haringey Council has allowed it to come to this very bad situation before taking action! I can understand the issues that the staff may have from being TUPED but I do not condone bad service and ineffiency. We do need things to improve a lot. If you complain to Fusion why not copy in your councillors and the relevant sevice at Haringey so that they are kept in the loop. They are, after all, responsible for ensuring that these public services meet the correct standards.

Women only sessions are fine once they aren't scheduled at the same time every day and ceratinly not at peak times, since this means that men who are not interested googling at women but just having a good swim, are not allowed to do so. I rememebr Brixton pool being shut to men every week day between 6 and 7 pm just the time after work when people (everyone) want to swim. Will we get men-only sessions too if we ask for them?

What have we been fighting for for the past 100 years or so? I'm not complaining about men looking at women per se. I'm just not comfortable with them using the pool as a viewing platform when I'm in a public space with very little clothing on. I go there to exercise and relax and am fairly shocked at your comments. My experience of men in France this year was very different from the one you describe! 

As newbie to the area and an adult learning to swim, I find it so disappointing that the pools are so bad.

Has anyone done swimming lessons at Park Road?

I completed the Nervous Adults 12 wk course at Archway = disgusting. The filters were off 99% of the time, with floaters. Then I joined Tottenham Green beginners 12 wk course = Slight better, at least the filters worked, but the changing rooms were rundown and the pool freezing. Now i'm thinking of trying Park Road for the improver's course, only been once on a few days before Xmas eve. I personal found remarkably cleaner than TG in the changing room area, although the filters were off (ek), which questions the hygiene factor of the pool. I have written off TG based on first impression at Park Road. 

I think the more complaints they get the better. Just hoping the filter is switched on next week.

Not sure about giving the new management a year to settle in...It's not as if Fusion have never run swimming pools and leisure centres before - they seem to have contracts with many local authorities outside of London. Their website proudly trumpets "12 years of experience and expertise". So they knew what they were taking on. I agree that things were not perfect before, but I expected improvements rather than deterioration in services.

Re women-only sessions, I believe Tottenham Green also run men-only sessions for those who are not allowed to bathe in mixed-sex groups. The women-only sessions are in the teaching pool, so the main pool is still open to men, and they are during the daytime. I like them because they are more sedate and not dominated by competitive male swimmers mowing you down.

Valid comments.
I can't see why we should experience deterioration in the customer service since this requires the least amount of physical change. Certainly lodeg complaints and contiinue to do so.
Certainly hygiene is a health and safety issue which should be enforceable and dealt with urgently.
The overhall of the physical installations will take investment, thus more time, which I hope is part of the divestment contract.

If there is adequate provision for both women and men then great. But no one set of users should banned from popular activities at peak times because others don't want to be seen in a public space. If there is antisocial behaviour from some then that is what needs to be dealt with. Don't "punish" those men who behave respectfully because some others do not.



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