A PENSIONER has been threatened with a ban from Huddersfield Sports Centre if he makes another complaint about loud music disturbing his game of badminton.
Jim Gillan, from Beaumont Park, says he and a dozen other players meet up every Monday evening to play badminton at the centre – but are put off by music exercise classes going on at the same time in the sports hall.
The 61-year-old claims the music played on a stereo system means it’s difficult for the badminton players to hear calls and avoid clashes between players and racquets.
And Jim – who has a hearing disability following a motorbike crash – says to him the noise is “as much a barrier to participation as stairs are to a wheelchair user”.
The badminton player first complained to Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL) – who run the sports centre – two years ago and they say the complaint has been thoroughly investigated.
A spokesman said they have offered a different time slot to the badminton players but have been refused and they have also taken steps to reduce the volume from the exercise class stereo.
KAL say Jim has continued to complain and it has become “unreasonably persistent and vexatious” and he would be banned from the sports centre if he continues to contact them about it.
Alasdair Brown, KAL’s Chief Executive said: “While KAL will always consider and investigate complaints made against the organisation robustly and in line with our published complaints procedure, this particular matter has already been independently investigated and fully considered by no less than the Local Government Ombudsman.
“It is a waste of our charitable resources that the same issue – despite a wide range of compromises and concessions already being made by KAL – is diverting KAL from its charitable objectives and from providing a good quality service to local people.
“The situation of having shared use of the sports hall at Huddersfield Sports Centre is not ideal, but concessions need to be made by all parties to ensure that the maximum number of local people can enjoy the positive benefits of taking part in sport and exercise.”
But Jim, a retired director of policy for Blackburn with Darwen Council, told the Examiner that KAL had failed to act responsibly by scheduling two “completely incompatible” activities alongside each-other.
He said: “To be regarded as ‘unreasonably persistent and vexatious’ is a first for me – but if the alternative is to meekly go along with KAL’s dismissive treatment of me and the other badminton customers, then they can use whatever label pleases them.
“KAL has failed in its duty of care by subjecting one set of customers to noise levels that are disruptive and likely to cause or contribute to injury arising from warning calls that often cannot be heard properly.
“They have behaved in an unreasonable and discriminatory fashion by expecting me and other badminton customers to put up with inappropriate and excessive noise levels from the classes.”