A pensioner is making a big splash about Sunderland’s Aquatic Centre pool being halved in size for swimmers.
Michael Johnson has hit out after the Monwkearmouth’s main pool was made smaller.
Mr Johnson uses the pool most days each week as swimming helps with the arthritis condition which he suffers from.
“They’re shutting off half of the pool and I don’t think it’s right,” said the 67-year-old retired council worker.
“They can’t expect us to pay extortionate amounts of money for these facilities.
“I pay £16.45 a month to use the place, and now I’m going to have to squeeze in because the pool is that small.”
Mr Johnson, who lives in the St Peter’s area of Sunderland, added that he feels the decision to close of half of the pool is financial, although Everyone Active, which now operates leisure facilities in the city, has said the decision was made because of current usage levels.
He says he is also unhappy about the number of lifeguards on patrol at the pool, although Everything Active bosses deny numbers have been reduced.
“I think they are turning people away from going swimming by doing this,” he said.
“The attitude seems to be ‘if you don’t like it, go elsewhere’.
I pay £16.45 a month to use the place, and now I’m going to have to squeeze in because the pool is that small.Michael Johnson
“I’ve been going there for about five or six years and at the minute I’m there six mornings a week because of my arthritis.
“Companies and councils keep saying they need to get everyone active, but I think that really, they aren’t making it any easier for people to be active.”
Steve Dougal, Everyone Active’s general manager at Sunderland Aquatic Centre, said: “We have recently reviewed the current usage, activities and layout of the pools at the Sunderland Aquatic Centre.
“The new pool layout, which took effect from Monday, reflects our current level of usage.
“The number of lifeguards on poolside at one time has not decreased.
“Should there be an increase in the number of customers using the pool, we will review this decision accordingly.
“We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused to our visitors and encourage anyone with any queries to contact the centre directly.”