Celebrity diving show Splash! is returning to television screens on Saturday but some members of Inspire sports centre are furious that the filming is once again closing the competition pool.
The show, featuring Olympic diver Tom Daley, is being filmed at the £26 million state-of-the art centre in Stopsley for the second year running.
From 6am until 10pm every day this week, and all Fridays and Saturdays for the duration of the seven-week programme, the pool is closed.
Stopsley resident and Inspire member Frances Pardell said: “I was looking forward to the Christmas holidays so I could combine my visits to the gym with a swim in the competition pool.
“It’s the week that everybody is off work and they’ve blocked off the pool until 10pm every single day.
“They are covered legally with their contract but I think it’s absolutely immoral. That pool is a fabulous pool that’s so popular. This is the one time of year when hard-working residents like myself could use it and it’s closed. It’s an outrage. Why not apologise? Why not offer us a refund? Instead they completely ignore us. It’s not great for the pool or Luton that Splash! is being filmed there. Nobody cares, it’s a terrible programme.”
A Luton Borough Council spokesperson said the first series of Splash! made a positive impact on how Luton is perceived nationally and membership at the centre increased following the show.
Money from the show also paid for new springboards and equipment at the centre.
The spokesperson said: “Most of the work is going on outside of Inspire’s normal operating hours to keep disruption to a minimum. To minimise the loss of water time, the community pool will open earlier than normal on January 6 at 7am and on January 7 at 8.30am. Members can also use the pools at Lea Manor Recreation Centre and at Lewsey Park Pool.”
Active Luton held last year’s prices for existing members in recognition of the inconvenience caused by hosting the TV programme.
The clause in membership agreements allows the centre to close for events and members can use other pools.