Concerns about Bracknell’s much-loved leisure centre have been downplayed by the facility’s new operator Everyone Active.

Regular users of Bracknell Leisure Centre told the News that the site’s £2.8m refurbishment had made the swimming area “disgusting” and there was a “mess everywhere”, with one resident even claiming they felt “ashamed” of the centre.

However David Love, Everyone Active’s Area Manager, told the News that the refurbishment would make the leisure centre “great”.

He said: “People are going to come here and go 'wow, it’s like a private club.'

“It is going to be great. We are really excited about it.”

“There is always going to be disruption but we have worked very closely with building contractors.

“This is a community leisure centre, it will always be a community centre for the community.”

Bracknell Forest Council still owns the leisure centre building, but Everyone Active has been running the facility since it took over in March 2018 with refurbishments starting in the summer.

Concerned residents claimed a lack of staff had led to one of the facility’s three pools being regularly closed, courts not being set up properly and long queues in the reception area.

One regular swimmer told the News that “people are turning away because they do not have enough staff to keep the pools open”, adding that the larger pool areas were “like a morgue” because fewer people were using them.

However Mr Love said that pool closures have “been a very rare occurrence” and added that free courses are provided for people wanting to become lifeguards at the centre.

He added: “We are always looking to recruit the right people – we always want to recruit so we have enough staff.”

Mr Love told the News that the “staff have been amazing” since Everyone Active took over the running of the leisure centre and measures are being made to ease the pressure on employees.

Turnstiles are set to be added at the front of the building to ensure customers can walk through the building without needing to queue, as well as plans for a re-designed reception area as part of the refurbishments.

Everyone Active is also developing an app which will allow leisure centre regulars to pre-book courts, sign up to a range of classes and more, with plans being put in place to help customers become familiar with how the app works.

Some users told the News that they had issues with the general cleanliness of the facility, but Mr Love claimed the leisure centre benefits from a “strict cleaning regime”.

The council has been working closely with Everyone Active since the running of the leisure centre changed hands, with weekly meetings between David Love and the council’s Head of Leisure Facilities Nick Smith.

The pair were questioned by councillors in early September after it emerged that the centre had received a ”higher than desired number of customer complaints” in the months following the transfer.

However since then there has been a decrease in the number of complaints received by Everyone Active, and that the complaints they do receive will be displayed alongside information on how these issues are being fixed once refurbishment ends.

Nick Smith told the News: “It is all going to plan.

“It would be too easy to say ‘why don’t we close the building’?

“But we want to offer the facilities to customers – we don’t want them to go somewhere else.”