THE swimming pool and fitness centre in Tenbury is used by almost one in five people in the town.

This is one of the key findings from a public consultation and survey undertaken by the company that has been set up to secure the future of the facility.

It also shows that more than half of the people who took part in the survey use the facilities at least once a week.

“We were surprised and very impressed by the high number of people that use the swimming pool and fitness centre,” said Caroline Palethorpe of Tenbury Pool Ltd.

“It shows just how important it is as a community asset and how vital it is to make sure that it has a future.”

Tenbury Pool Ltd is the new company that has been set up to secure the future of the facility that dates back to the 1960s.

But the consultation that took place earlier in the year shows that there are some key areas where improvements are needed.

The biggest concerns relate to the conditions of the changing rooms and cleanliness.

Only 11 per cent of those who answered the question described the cleanliness as ‘excellent’ with a higher number describing it as ‘poor’ and by far the biggest number considering this aspect of the facility as ‘satisfactory.’

However, the friendliness of the staff scored highly with the vast majority of people rating this as either ‘excellent’ or ‘high.’

There was also a vote of confidence in the safety with the majority of people considering this to be ‘excellent’ or ‘high.’

When consideration is given to future additional facilities the company will take into account a strong preference for the building of a sauna or spa.

There is also a strong call for a new fitness and dance suit together with a larger and better equipped gym.

People who took part in the consultation are more likely to go swimming than to ‘work out’ in the gym. There were 304 who swam compared with 254 who use the gym.

An encouraging finding was the frequency with which the pool and fitness centre are used with people two-and-a-half times more likely to visit once a month rather than occasionally – fewer than four times a year.

There was a public meeting to discuss the findings as The Advertiser was going to press and the company now responsible will be preparing a list of priorities.

But it has made clear that top of the list will be keeping it going in an environment in which the annual grant from Malvern Hills District Council is increasingly under pressure.

Caroline Palethorpe says that it is important people realise the pool and fitness centre is not a council facility.

It is also showing its age as it approaches its 50th birthday in 2018 and includes expensive equipment such as the boilers and heat exchangers that warm the water and the safety critical chlorine dosing equipment.