THE GYM at Penarth Leisure Centre has reopened five weeks after it was forced to close because of smoke damage.

The swimming pool and health suite remain closed at the leisure centre “given the severity of the damage caused in those areas” and no date has been set for their reopening.

It comes after the leisure centre suffered “extensive damage” from an accidental fire that originated from the sauna in February.

Six fire crews from across south Wales were called out to deal with the fire that saw the whole building evacuated, after Jacuzzi users reportedly attempted to extinguish the fire themselves with buckets of water.

Parkwood Community Leisure, which operates Penarth Leisure Centre on behalf of Vale of Glamorgan Council, said that it had worked “extremely hard to make facilities operational as quickly as possible” and that it was “very pleased” to be able reopen the gym on Monday, March 31, this week.

A spokesman added: “The pool and health suite will remain closed until further notice given the severity of the damage caused in those areas. Ongoing meetings are taking place to further the plan of action that involves both Parkwood Community Leisure and the Vale of Glamorgan Council. However, at this stage we are unable to provide a definite reopening date.”

Parents that have swimming lessons booked for their children have criticised Parkwood for failing to provide refunds or compensation while the pool remains closed.

One parent, in a letter to the Penarth Times, said: “The leisure centre is quoted as saying all customers' accounts will be, or may have even said ‘have been’, credited with a full refund.

“What they have not made clear is that this is not happening automatically but you have to contact the Leisure Centre yourself to formally request the cash be refunded.”

They added: “They have not informed us of this, in fact they have not contacted us at all to let us know what will be happening with lessons or with the money they owe us, I wonder how many customers' cash they are hanging on to as people have not been given the correct information about how to obtain a refund?”.

A spokesman from Parkwood Community Leisure added: “Our swimming lesson programme, which involves more than 450 children, will resume once the pool reopens. “Direct debits have been frozen for those customers that pay by this method, and credit notes have been automatically applied for those customers who pay for the term upfront. These credits can then be offset against the new term charges when classes resume. Refunds are being given to the very small number of customers who have requested them, however, most are content to retain the credits against the swimming courses.”