The decision to close the swimming pool facilities at the newly opened Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre has come under fire.

The swimming pool facilities at the leisure centre in Holywell Hill were forced to close yesterday (Thursday) around 4:30pm after concerns over ‘slippery’ pool tiles.

Residents and councillors raised their criticism following the turnout of thousands of people at the launch weekend of the new leisure centre on Saturday, November 10 and Sunday November 11.

Councillor Anthony Rowlands, hit out at the closure “so soon after the official launch.”

The Liberal Democrat spokesperson for sport, culture and heritage, said: “It is embarrassing and worrying that it has been necessary to close the pool facilities less than a fortnight after they were opened.

“Whilst it is clearly correct to close the facility until the problem is solved, this episode raises all sorts of questions about why such an obvious and fundamental matter had not been dealt with before the pool was opened.

“Communication with the public has also been poor. The pool was closed at 4.30pm on Thursday and nothing appeared on the Westminster Lodge website until Friday morning.”

Michal Green,53, who lives in St Albans and has membership at the leisure centre said, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Mr Green, who plans to go Westminster Lodge to swim two or three times a week, received a text from the leisure centre services informing him of the closures.

He said: “It is shambolic and an absolute joke.

“All I want to do is swim and it hasn’t even been open two weeks yet and already they are struggling.

"If something is not ready, it shouldn’t be opened.

“In my opinion if you have spending umpteen million pounds on something, you should make sure everything is right before you open it. “

Following the closure, the tiles are being treated to ensure they are more slip-resistant and it is hoped the pool will be reopened tomorrow morning. (Saturday)

A spokesperson from Everyone Active and St Albans District Council, said: "Everyone Active informed customers immediately of the closure of the pool areas once it became apparent that this would be necessary. 

“The works to make the pool tiles more slip-resistant has taken longer than at first thought and, as soon as we were aware of this, we altered our public information accordingly.

“Teething problems often occur with new buildings, especially those of the scale and high quality of finish of Westminster Lodge, and they really only fully emerge when the building is properly used. 

“We have had thousands of people through the doors over the last two weeks and the feedback we are receiving is overwhelmingly positive.  We are collecting people’s feedback and using it to fine-tune the services offered, and sort out issues as they emerge.”