RESIDENTS in Stourbridge say broken equipment at the town's leisure centre is a joke – especially now the council has decided to raise membership fees.

Members at the much-loved Crystal Leisure Centre in Bell Street say the gym is “falling apart” with leaky roofs and taped-up equipment.

Lee Pitt, a member at the Crystal Leisure Centre since 2010, said: “The gym equipment is antiquated. I have been a regular member since 2010. They have not updated or replaced any equipment whilst I’ve been there. There used to be five-floor mats, now there are four with half of these moth-eaten and cracked, this does affect the health and safety and hygiene of the equipment.

“For about nine months now, there has been a bucket and towels permanently in situ towards the back wall on the left side as you walk in. The staff now have finally had the sense in moving the machines affected by this out of the way instead of putting out-of-order signs on the machines to stop members from using them.

“The whole of the suspended ceiling tiles looks a mess as a result of numerous leaks past and present with certain tiles just simply missing. Why this repair has not been addressed over this amount of time I don’t know, it’s falling apart.”

Dudley Council says they do not have an unlimited pot of money to make repairs to the centre but plan to make improvements when funding is received.

But members say they are now being hit with an increase in membership costs despite staying loyal to the leisure centre.

Mr Pitt continued: “I’m sure they have the money with putting costs of membership up by £60 for yearly membership and if I’m not mistaken they’re putting prices up again in April. They have already lost quite a few regular members because of better facilities at competitive rates elsewhere.

“I’ve heard the excuse of ‘repairs are coming’ for the last five years. Just false promises.

“This is now a joke with your own staff as from time to time they get asked by various members the same question which your staff now just laugh off. I just hope the closure of the upstairs café is the first step towards the beginning of the gym modifications.”

The café at the Crystal Leisure Centre in Stourbridge will close its doors next month due to “current financial pressures”.

According to emails seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the cafe is forecast to lose approximately £55k this year.

At a cabinet meeting this month, when asked about repairs and rising membership costs at the leisure centre, Cllr Steve Clark said: “There is a lot more to be done in Stourbridge and we only had a finite pot of money to actually do that with.

“Hopefully as and when we get a little bit more money we can actually make sure that Stourbridge is given the work it needs instead of just working on the changing rooms and the boiler area.”