Council chiefs have defended alleged reports of uncleanliness and increased charges at the new £11.25m Queen’s Park Sports Centre in Chesterfield.
The 19,050sqm Queen’s Park Annexe site opened in January this year and includes an eight-lane swimming pool, eight sports courts and gym.
Some users say they are concerned about cleanliness of the showers and toilets, and one over 60s group has even decided to play elsewhere due to new VAT charges enforced by Chesterfield Borough Council.
The authority say they have recently increased the number of hours that cleaners work and are “confident” fees are in line or better than other sports facilities.
In a letter to the Derbyshire Times, Ken Fletcher, secretary at Chesterfield ExSpires FC, said: “Our main concern is over the letting charge for the G3 outdoor football pitch, which both of our over 60s walking football (Chesterfield Senior Spireites FC) and running football (Chesterfield EXSpires FC) use on Monday and Tuesday mornings throughout the year.
“The new charge of £30 to £50 per hour appears to be the highest charge per hour of all the individual facilities now on offer at the new sports centre and the G3 pitch is the only facility not involved in the newly built sports centre.
“The Senior Spireites FC have decided to leave Queen’s Park and play at Clowne Sports Centre.”
“We have had an excellent working relationship with all of the officers at the Queen’s Park Sports Centre for a number of years and this may well have to come to an end.”
Councillor Chris Ludlow, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing say the authority is “sorry” standards of cleanliness have fallen below expected standards.
She said: “We are also looking at options for new cleaning products and hope this will address any remaining issues.
“The opening of the new centre has meant that we have had to charge VAT for clubs that have a regular booking, where this was not the case previously.
“We informed sports clubs, including the over 60s walking football group of the change last autumn that the charges would come into effect from the beginning of April this year.
“We review the fees and charges each year and we are confident that our fees are in line or better than other sports facilities in the area.”