FREE swimming is being offered in Ponteland to break the ice with disgruntled leisure centre users.
Complaints were made about the temperature of the pool at Ponteland Leisure Centre last autumn, and investigations revealed that just five of the ten boilers used to heat it were working.
But now, thanks to pressure from county councillor Richard Dodd, swimming groups and residents, the problem has been fixed.
And in a bid to draw back customers who chose to go elsewhere rather than brave the chilly waters, operator Leisure Connection is offering free sessions this weekend to show how much the pool has improved.
Coun Dodd said: “I have commented on the problems with the pool at Ponteland — at one time I thought they were going to make it into a skating rink. Last September I virtually had to break the ice to get into the pool.
“I asked for responses to my complaint and one woman replied saying that at the end of September she had been in the North Sea with her children, but when they went to the pool at Ponteland they had to get out because it was so cold. That tells you something.
“After a long period of time trying to get to the root of the problem we found out that the pool has ten boilers, but only five had been working.
“I’m pleased to say that we now have ten boilers working again and we are now having positive meetings with the management.
“On Easter Saturday and Sunday they are opening the pool for free, as well as the gym.
“A lot of people, including myself, had stopped going to the pool because it was so cold, but there has been a change and people can see it this weekend absolutely free.”
Use of the pool and gym will be free to all, but children under the age of eight will need to be accompanied by an adult and for swimming there should be one adult to two children.
Those wishing to use the gym will have to book a 15-minute induction at least 24 hours in advance.
For more information call 01661 825441.