JARROW MP Stephen Hepburn has been called on to intervene in a sauna row heating up in South Tyneside.
The omission of a sauna rest room from the £12.8m Hebburn hub scheme, despite the facility currently being available at the town swimming pool, has sparked dismay.
Campaigner Adam Naylor said the lack of a rest room will hit users of the new hub, particularly pensioners reliant on the facility as a point of contact, hard.
Mr Naylor has collected more than 100 names on a petition demanding that a rest room be included in the two-storey hub scheme, currently under construction in Hebburn town centre.
Now Mr Naylor, of Bede Burn Road, Jarrow, is urging Mr Hepburn to try to persuade council bosses to change the hub design to incorporate a rest room.
In a letter to the Jarrow MP, Mr Naylor writes: “For me personally, this is a much-loved hobby of mine, but for all the pensioners, both male and female, it’s quite simply a way of life.
“You only have to go to the sauna on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays to find this out. It’s a social hub. People take sandwiches, coffees etc and make a real day of it.”
Mr Naylor, a quantity surveyor, has slammed designers for omitting a rest room from the hub scheme.
He added: “This is not only disgusting and wrong, but it’s almost laughable in how much of a joke it is. It’s like having a football pitch without goals!
“The council is actually proposing to give us less than what we currently have.” Mr Hepburn has acknowledged Mr Nayor’s letter, but the sauna campaigner is awaiting a full reply.
The campaign for a rest room is being backed by Monkton ward councillor Jim Sewell. He said: “If there was a rest room in the old sauna, there should be one at the new place.”
When it is completed in March 2015, the Hebburn hub will comprise a six-lane swimming pool, learner pool, library, fitness suite, sports hall, dance studio, soft-play area, learning centre and café, plus meeting rooms and a customer service centre.
South Tyneside Council has arranged to meet a representative of the group objecting to a lack of a rest room in the development.