ABOUT 80 workers at York’s Waterworld swimming pool have been told they are being made redundant due to new plans for York’s Community Stadium, The Press has been told.
Sources say staff including managers, administrators, reception staff, cleaners and life guards were called into a meeting less than an hour before it was publicly announced Waterworld would close - and told they would not be needed after December.
It was announced on Tuesday that a brand new 8,000 seater stadium, a swimming pool to replace Waterworld, a gym, and a community hub will be built on the site of Huntington Stadium.
GLL - the company in charge of Waterworld and the gym - will head the consortium building and operating the site, and will take on the running of the council’s leisure centres at Yearsley Baths and Energise.
Stadium construction will start in spring 2015, and the site is due to open in summer 2016.
One Waterworld worker who asked not to be named said: “They started the meeting with us by saying how brilliant it was for York City Knights and football fans. Then they said they were making people redundant and knocking the building down.
“We’re demotivated and don’t know what the point is now.
“Some people have been there 15 years - people are angry.”
The member of staff said they were told they would be given priority if positions arose at Energise, but that currently the facility was fully staffed.
Another said there has been a suggestion of staff being redeployed to Manchester, London, or Leeds.
They said: “People were shocked, let down.
“It is a heartless decision. This place is the only one of its kind in the area.
“York is losing an institution. It brings a lot of money to the economy.”
As well as a new swimming pool complex with a six-lane 25 metre pool, a teaching pool and a leisure pool, it was announced the new stadium complex will house five-a-side pitches, an Explore library, NHS services, York St John University’s Institute of Community Sport and Wellbeing, and an independent living assessment centre.
A GLL spokeswoman said staff briefings were held on Tuesday for employees who might be affected by the appointment of GLL as preferred bidder for the stadium projectShe said staff were told what it might mean for them before the media briefing on the stadium plans, so they did not hear the news second-hand.
She added: “GLL informed staff of Waterworld in June that the current lease at York Waterworld was due to expire at the end of October and due to the ongoing tender process, a decision on the closure date of York Waterworld, or any extension to GLL’s lease could not yet be made.
“It was confirmed that decisions regarding staff could not be made either until after the procurement process had concluded and the preferred bidder had been announced. We also confirmed then that as soon as we had further information on this matter we would communicate this, which was done as part of the briefing sessions.”
She said there were various categories of staff and numbers were being reviewed.
She said: “Working with the council, we will endeavour to find the best choice and employment opportunities for them, when Waterworld is closed.”