Sentinel Leisure Trust issue apology after letter blunder

STAFF at Waveney's flagship sports centre have issued an apology to customers today, after letters were sent out to all members ahead of 'a comprehensive review' of operations.

Angry members of the Waterlane Leisure Centre in Lowestoft were shocked to receive a letter - just hours after 'budgetary concerns' had been highlighted - telling them that from December 31 their existing membership would 'become obsolete.'

One member, upon receiving the letter, said: 'I was absolutely disgusted to receive a letter advising that my current membership at Waterlane would be obsolete at the end of the year, and that if I wish to continue being a member I will have to take out a new, more expensive membership.' Another added that the letter was addressed to 'valued' members, but he said: 'I don't feel a very valued member.'

But this afternoon, Sentinel Leisure Trust were quick to stress that these letters 'should be ignored' and revised membership options will be sent out later this week.

It comes just four days after a confidential extraordinary meeting of Waveney District Council had been called last Thursday evening to discuss the management of the Waterlane Leisure Centre, with the council now working closer together with the trust to review their Business Plan.

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In a joint statement issued by Waveney and Sentinel, a spokesman said: 'Some members will have received letters in the past few days regarding their Waterlane Leisure Centre memberships and changes to pricing. For reasons which we shall explain, these letters should now be ignored. Members will receive a new letter in the next few days.

'The original letters were written and sent prior to the start of a comprehensive review of Sentinel's business operations, which you may have read about in the local media (The Journal and Eastern Daily Press). Part of this extensive and detailed review, which is being jointly undertaken by Sentinel Leisure Trust and Waveney District Council, will consider pricing policy and any previously proposed changes.

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'The purpose of the review is to ensure that the Trust continues to deliver quality leisure services at a fair price. Therefore, this will lead, in all probability, to an increase in membership prices. However we can assure you that any increases will be reasonable, carefully considered. Additionally, 'Price for Life' memberships WILL be honoured.'

The statement added: 'Sentinel Leisure Trust would like to sincerely apologise for any inconvenience, concern or confusion. It is very much 'business as usual' at Waterlane and this includes a firm commitment to our members and to their continued enjoyment of outstanding, modern leisure facilities in Lowestoft.

'We thank you for the support you have shown Waterlane before, during and since the redevelopment and this continued goodwill could not be more important to us.'

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