Swimmers have been turned away from Hounslow Council 's much-vaunted new leisure centre after being told their annual passes are not valid there.

Holders of annual swim-only memberships were previously entitled to use any pools at council-owned leisure centres in the borough, which are managed by contractor Fusion Lifestyle.

However, the passes are no longer being accepted at Heston Pools and Fitness, in New Heston Road, Heston , which opened in January this year, replacing the old Heston Pool leisure centre.

One swimmer who lives in Heston says she renewed her annual pass only last October on the understanding it would be valid when the new centre there opened.

Must pay £300 for full gym membership

Patricia Towill says she was shocked to discover the annual pass, for which she paid £103, was not accepted there.

The 66-year-old was told she would have to pay the concessionary rate of £2.85 a swim (full price £4.80) or shell out more than £300 for a full annual gym membership if she wanted to use the pool.

The council claims holders of Heston swim memberships would - a year after the closure of the old leisure centre - be brought in line with the rest of its centres.

But Mrs Towill insists she was never notified and knows a number of other swimmers who were caught unaware.

"When I renewed my membership I understood it would still be valid in Heston, since I hadn't been told otherwise," said Mrs Towill, who had been using Hanworth Air Park Leisure Centre since the old pool in Heston closed in February 2014 .

The 25m swimming pool at Heston Pools and Fitness

"If there'd been some warning I would say fair enough, but the way it's been done it so mean and shabby. It's like a slap in the face.

"A lot more consideration should have been given to old members of Heston Pool who have gone to a lot of trouble travelling to other pools while it was closed."

The new £13.5m leisure centre in Heston was opened with great fanfare by the council on January 11 this year - two months behind schedule.

The venue, which was funded through the sale of council land for new homes, contains a 25m pool, a gym and a children's soft play area among other facilities.


A council spokeswoman said: "All members of the former Heston Leisure Centre were contacted by Fusion Lifestyle – the company that manages the borough’s leisure centres - when the centre was closed for its multi million pound refurbishment.

"Members were informed that their Heston Leisure Centre swim memberships would - a year after the closure of Heston Leisure Centre - be brought in line with the rest of the centres.

"It seems that incorrect information was given to this member and so on behalf of Fusion Lifestyle, we apologise if any members were unaware of the change to their swim membership.

"Fusion Lifestyle will now be contacting all those members personally affected informing them of the new pricing structure for what were previously known as 'swim-only' memberships."