The reopening of public leisure centres in Enfield has been branded a “debacle” after prices rose and some pools remained closed.

Conservative leader Cllr Joanne Laban slammed the £8 cost of a swim as “outrageous” and said she was “deeply unimpressed” with the limited reopening of council-owned leisure centres in Enfield, which are run by Fusion Lifestyle.

It comes after a contractual dispute was blamed for delays in reopening the centres following the coronavirus lockdown. Council leader Cllr Nesil Caliskan said Fusion had asked the council to pay £1 million to subsidise the reopening of the centres.

While some centres reopened earlier this month, prices have increased and several swimming pools remain closed.

Fusion says it plans to open more pools as demand increases. Prices will be kept under review, with a concessionary rate available for some customers.

Cllr Laban said: “I have been deeply unimpressed with the very limited reopening of our leisure centres. The press release sent out by Enfield Council a couple of weeks ago failed to give any timescale for the reopening of Arnos, Albany and Southgate swimming pools.

“Southbury Leisure Centre’s reopening was delayed by 24 hours and the pool at Edmonton Leisure Centre has a problem with the boiler. It is hoped that Albany Leisure Centre’s pool will reopen due to Edmonton’s being out of action.

“Residents have also complained to me that the cost of a swim has increased to £8, which is outrageous considering it is a publicly owned facility. We understand the difficulties caused by Covid-19, but I am afraid that this has become a complete debacle.”

A spokesperson for Fusion Lifestyle said: “Southbury Leisure Centre’s reopening was delayed by only a few hours due to an operational issue with the pool plant. This was fixed as quickly as possible, allowing the pool to reopen on the planned day.

“A second pool will be available from this Friday, and as popularity and session demand increases, we will be in a position to open more pools in Enfield. We are looking to re-introduce Fusion Swim School from September 21 and are planning to welcome schools back for swimming lessons in September, too. In addition to this, Fusion has had positive conversations with local swim clubs and hope that they return shortly.

“The boiler at Edmonton is absolutely being fixed. A new part has already been ordered, and this is underway.

“We have taken advice on reopening from our governing bodies, UK Active and Community Leisure UK as part of the #saveleisure campaign. In order to open in a Covid-safe way, capacities at our centres are significantly reduced, but our running costs are still the same. In addition to the running costs, our staff require additional Covid-secure training, and there is a significant ongoing investment into Covid cleaning materials.

“We are constantly reviewing our prices and are pleased to announce that a concessionary rate is now available for those who qualify for these reduced rates.”