SUMMER holiday swimmers were left frustrated after having to negotiate long queues at Wigan Life Centre because the pool was full.
Families hoping to take their children for a dip in the pool found themselves having to wait as long as an hour to get in, with lines of waiting swimmers reaching across the lobby.
Pool owner Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT) attributed the surge in demand to the Olympics and the summer holidays, during which anyone aged 16 or under who has a Lifestyle card can visit the pool for free.
Swimmers expressed irritation with the queues and the fact that the Life Centre’s 25-metre pool is smaller than the one at the old Wigan International Pool.
One visitor, who asked not to be named, said: “We’ve been here in the queue for about an hour so obviously it’s slow.
“I also don’t think the pool is anywhere near big enough, and it doesn’t have things like the diving equipment which we had before at the old pool.”
James Fagan, 28, from Norley Hall, was visiting with his partner Marianne Burley, 27, and their children Louise, five, and Matthew, two.
James said: “We waited about half an hour. Apparently you had to wait for people leaving the pool.
“We only wanted a family swim, and when we got in there was only about two other people in the small pool and it was supposed to be packed.
“There were lots of kids queuing for the big pool, but we wanted a family swim and I don’t understand why we had to wait.”
Independent councillor for Hindley Green ward Bob Brierley said: “I think it’s ridiculous kids are being made to wait so long. I’ve spoken to people who have been waiting an hour and 20 minutes.
“There was never a delay at the old swimming baths, there was ample space. They should also have more drinks machines, and a spectator gallery where people can take a ticket and wait.”
A WLCT spokesman said: “Like any pool, anywhere in the country, the number of visitors increases during summer. The Olympics has also inspired people to get fit and we have had a noticeable increase, which is fantastic.
“To ensure queuing times are kept to a minimum during extremely busy periods a band system is introduced where swimmers can swim for a minimum of an hour. This ensures we can maintain a flow of customers and ensure as many people as possible can access the pool.”