Council to be prosecuted over leisure centre bug

Showers have tested positive for Legionella bacteria at Walton-on-the-Naze lifestyles

Showers have tested positive for Legionella bacteria at Walton-on-the-Naze lifestyles - Credit: Archant

An Essex council is to face prosecution after a customer at one of its leisure centres contracted Legionnaire’s Disease.

Ian Davidson, chief executive of Tendring District Council

Ian Davidson, chief executive of Tendring District Council - Credit: Archant

Tendring District Council has confirmed it is being prosecuted in a case brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at Walton-on-the-Naze Lifestyles leisure centre two years ago.

The incident happened in November 2016, when a leisure centre customer contracted Legionnaire’s Disease and was treated in hospital. An HSE investigation was subsequently launched.

Ian Davidson, chief executive at Tendring council, has reassured residents that systems have been changed as a result of the investigation.

He said: “It would be inappropriate for me to comment further about this specific incident and the charge ahead of the court case.

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“However, I would once again like to reiterate our apologies to the individual concerned.”

Legionnaire’s Disease is a form of acute pneumonia which affects the lungs and can lead to shortness of breath, a high fever and muscle pains.

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Legionnaires is directly caused by Legionella bacteria.

The bacteria is found naturally in fresh water and has no preventative vaccine.

Preventing the inhalation of Legionella depends entirely on the maintenance of water systems.

The same bacteria was found in the showers of the Lifestyles leisure centre after the customer fell ill on November 18, 2016.

Mr Davidson said: “As soon as we became aware of the presence of Legionella bacteria at the new facility at Walton-on-the-Naze Lifestyles we moved to address the issue immediately.

“The centre closed for three months while remedial works took place.

“Our investigation was quickly widened to include a review of our systems and practices right across the council and, working alongside the HSE, these are now extremely rigorous.

“We have been open and transparent throughout this process.”

A hearing relating to the Legionella case has been adjourned until Thursday, December 6.

It was due to take place on Wednesday, November 7 but an adjournment was agreed by both parties involved and the court.

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