Squash players treated with contempt

I AM writing to the Dispatch out of sheer despair and disgust at the service and treatment that squash players are receiving from Hucknall Leisure Centre (HLC).

This facility was paid for out of taxpayers’ funds for the use of the community and has been ‘hived off’ to a private company which seeks to profiteer at every opportunity from loyal customers.

About 18 months ago, HLC introduced a block-booking scheme for the squash courts, with cancellation to be made up to 24 hours in advance. If you didn’t cancel in time, you were charged for the court (which is understandable).

In March, this was changed, meaning you had to give ten weeks’ notice of cancellation and if you did not give ten weeks’ notice, you had to pay for the court, irrespective of whether the court was re-booked by another customer. Clearly, this is disproportionate and unreasonable.

I requested a meeting with the manager, Kevan Murray, who basically said:

“I have to increase revenue from the squash courts, take it or leave it” and that I could book the courts on a casual basis via the telephone.

This brings me to another issue of trying to get through to HLC on the telephone, which is either busy or just rings and rings. To this, Mr Murray told me: “We have invested £8,000 on a new telephone system”, to which I laughed. The system is as bad as ever.

As a result of me cancelling two courts, giving seven and eight days’ notice, HLC wanted to charge me £13 to cancel.

I said: “I will gladly pay for the courts if you cannot re-book them to other customers.”

HLC responded that I had to pay in any event! Due to my refusal, HLC have revoked my block booking.

I am not alone in my criticism of this crazy system. I have spoken to many other squash players who echo my concerns.

My household spends more than £2,000 per year via HLC gym-membership and squash. What price loyalty?

SIMON ASHCROFT,

Badger Close,

Hucknall.