Luton’s olympic swimming pool has began hosting gender-segregated swimming sessions because of “cultural” reasons, it has been alleged.
Users of the competitive pool at Inspire Sports Village in Stopsley – built with taxpayer-funded Olympic money – were given sudden notice that there would be men-only sessions on Friday evenings from July 29.
Women-only sessions will also take place on a Friday evening, but in the smaller community pool.
One outraged female swimmer told Luton News: “The Friday night session for everyone is now closed because of the listed men-only sessions.
“I have asked a team leader about it – as there are no managers at the weekend – and he said it was a ‘cultural thing’.”
Women who do not want to use the community pool are reportedly told to use Lea Manor or Lewsey Pools.
The woman added: “Why has one section of the community in Luton been allowed to dominate and take over the best pool in the borough?
“Why can’t they instead have booked Lea Manor or Lewsey pools?
“I like swimming in the competition pool after a hard week at work on Fridays and now I can’t without any discussion and very little advanced notice.”
An Active Luton spokesman defended the move and explained that on Friday evenings, Inspire offered gender-specific swimming sessions – albeit men had access to the larger competitive pool.
He went on: “We regularly provide opportunities for different groups in our programme, including many different activities and swimming sessions.
“Active Luton aims to provide everyone in our community, regardless of age, ability or ethnicity, with affordable and accessible opportunities to get active in ways which suit their wide-ranging needs and lifestyles.”