Published: 09:00, 17 July 2014
The Stour Centre in Ashford is due to reopen tomorrow (Thursday) after a power cut last Wednesday caused the fire alarm to fail and the building to close for a week.
The hopeful news comes just in time for the start of the school's summer holidays, a busy period for the centre.
Ashford Leisure Trust spokesman Carole Clay said: “As a result of the power failure on Wednesday, July 16, which had a serious effect on the fire alarm system, the Stour Centre was closed.
“The health and safety of our customers was our primary concern and we simply could not risk that until the fire alarm system had been fully repaired, following failure caused by what initially is believed to be a surge in power.
“Engineers have been on site to repair the fire alarm system which will be followed by comprehensive testing.
“We hope to have the building open on Thursday and will update our website as soon as this is confirmed with full details of the reopening schedule.”
The centre, in Station Approach, was evacuated twice last Wednesday, once at 9.30am when the power first failed and again at 3.30pm “due to problems caused as a result of the earlier power failure,” Ms Clay said.
On Wednesday an emergency generator, based at the neighbouring Civic Centre, was switched on to power both buildings.
UK Power Networks engineers investigated theproblem and found it was caused by a fault in the Kennington area.
Power was restored at 1.45pm on Wednesday but the leisure pool remained closed during the afternoon and the whole building was shut again less than two hours later.
But despite the centre closing for a week, not all customers were told in advance of their planned activities.
Peter Morris-Kelso said he was not informed his son’s karate class was cancelled as the centre had not even told the teacher.
Mr Morris-Kelso said: “The first time I found out it was closed was when I came across the whiteboard at the bottom of the ramp.
“Joe Ellis, who was teaching the karate class, turned up as well, having not been informed about the closure either, and he’s the person hiring the hall!
“I suppose I should have spotted something was amiss by the virtually empty car park, but that didn’t stop a couple of prospective customers purchasing a car park ticket anyway, before seeing the notice and leaving very unhappily.
“As I left, I flagged down another car to tell her the situation, and she was unhappier than most, as she’d driven up from Dover to use the pool.”
The centre offered customers alternative gym facilities at the Julie Rose Stadium and Kingsnorth recreation centre while it was closed, with both sites extending their opening hours to accommodate this.
A council spokesman said services at the Civic Centre were not affected by the blackout.
The power problems come less than a month after the Stour Centre was evacuated following a chlorine gas leak when 150 people were forced to wait outside for two hours until it was safe to return.
Anyone planning to visit the Stour Centre can check for updates at www.ashfordleisuretrust.co.uk or call 01233 663503.
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