BLACKBURN Leisure Centre members said they are being ‘unfairly treated’ after the council closed off the main swimming pool to users at peak times.

The timetable for the main pool at the leisure centre has recently changed to accommodate the Blackburn Centurions swimming club.

It means the swimming pool is closed off to all other users between 6pm and 8pm every day between Monday and Wednesday.

After this time Swim Fit sessions take place for an hour.

Paying leisure centre members have now spoken out saying they have nothing against the swimming club but do not feel the timetable allows them to use the pool at peak hours.

One swimmer who did not wish to be named: “It is unfair not to be allowed to use the swimming pool.

“The swimming pool should be accessible to everyone and should not be taken up by a swimming club at these times.

“If you finish work you can’t access the pool.”

Paul McKelvie, who has been a member for two years, said: “I finish work at 5pm and I think I should be allowed to go for a swim.

“The way the centre is operating at the moment means it is singling out a single part of the community.

“I have no objection for any club being at the swimming pool. But I do think in this case we as members have been very badly treated.

“Instead it being from 6-8pm the swimming club could run from 7-9pm.

"We want everyone to take part in swimming, that way those people who finish work can use the pool.

“We are paid-up members of the club and it should be there for use of everyone.”

Jhanghir Ahmed said: “It is unfair on other users as we are told to vacate the area 15 minutes before the club start using the centre.

“I do think there needs to be a compromise on this. For many of us this is the only time we can visit the pool.

“No-one has anything against the swimming club but we are regular members who wanted to be treated fairly.”

Dominic Harrison, director of public health and wellbeing at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “We understand that some people will be frustrated and inconvenienced by these changes, and we are very sorry about this.

“Recent changes at other swimming pools in the borough have meant that the Blackburn Centurions swimming club needed a new home and we were able to accommodate them with these changes to the timetable, but it did mean that two public swimming sessions on Mondays and Tuesdays had to be moved.

“We did display the timetable changes on signs at the sports and leisure centre, and looked at the more quiet times in the schedule to try and cause the least amount of disruption to our members and users, and there are numerous other public sessions for swimmers throughout the week and at different times.”

The council said a constructive discussion with users was taking place.