A visitor to the Waterworld water park has claimed the pool water made his eyes burn and caused him to have a coughing fit.
Chris Richards, who visited the attraction in Stoke-on-Trent on Sunday, February 27, with his wife and seven-year-old son, says he was ‘gobsmacked’ by the customer service he received when he complained.
However a spokesperson for Waterworld says there was no breach of health and safety protocols on the day in question – and said that the complainant was ‘aggressive’, which Chris strongly denies.
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Chris, 38, from Chester told the MEN: “Upon entering the pool side, we were struck with a strong smell of chemicals, but put it down to it just opening.
“After five minutes we all started feeling our eyes burning whilst waiting to get on a slide, and once we got water on us, our eyes started to sting more and we started to cough.
“The pain was not a nice feeling. It made your eyes feel very dry and made it difficult when out of the water to blink as it felt like you were scratching your eyes.”
After ten minutes, Chris claims they could see lifeguards and other members of staff having similar issues with their eyes.
He went on: “We saw so many lifeguards using bottled water and pads to rinse their eyes, even when they hadn’t even been in the pool, it seemed as if it was just in the atmosphere.”
The father-of-one claims he approached one of the lifeguards to ask what was happening, and he claims they stated the chlorine level was at a higher than normal rate – at eight.
“We were told it would come down over the next 30-45 minutes – at this point, my wife and I decided to stay out of the pool for this duration,” he said.
“We then tried the pool again after waiting but it was just too bad, by this point, other people had red eyes and were coughing and complaining, we decided to leave the pool and request to see a manager.”
Chris added: “That evening my chest was tight. I feel people deserve to be aware of the potential health and safety issue this might have caused customers on the day.”
Meanwhile another complainant, on TripAdvisor, claims he coughed so much on a half-term visit to Waterworld that he feared he had covid.
Giving his name as Matthew, I have rated the waterpark two stars out of five.
He headlined his review as simply: “Chorline…” and summarized the trip as a ‘downer’ for their last day of the February holidays.
The TripAdvisor poster wrote: “I think there must have been some issue with the chlorination system today as within minutes of getting in I started getting tight in the chest and I was coughing a lot I was starting to think I had covid but I noticed quite a few people coughing.
“This really ruined our visit and we left after about 20-30 mins in the pool. I asked for a refund but was told they couldn’t do that.
“We did get offered tickets to come back on a different day which I thought was reasonable but we took the free entry to the mini golf next door.
“The staff were aware of the issue as I guess quite a few people reported it and they were getting some fresh air in there.
“All in all a bit of a downer on the last day of half term.”
In a statement Waterworld said: “We are a privately owned business that has been successfully trading for over 32 years and have welcomed over £13m visitors to date from all over the world.
“We remain successful not only because we continuously invest in the infrastructure upgrades, innovative new rides and features but also on staff training.
“We also focus very heavily on customer service as one would expect from a major leisure attraction.
“We try our very best to ensure that our customers have a great day out.
“We do not as a company policy comment on specific customer complaints or issues, as such matters are private and confidential. However we can generally comment as follows.
“The Sunday in question, we had 2000 customers throughout the day. All pool tests and operational plantroom procedures were followed and adhered to fully as is the norm.
“There were no breaches in any Health and Safety protocols.
“As a business we ensure our customers are dealt with in a fair manner. We do our best to make sure all customers leave with a smile.
“But there are odd occasions when the customers do not see reason and take upon themselves to cause unnecessary issues and distress to staff and management and seek to bring the company to disrepute.
“We believe the manager on duty did all he could do to address the situation and offer a remedy.
“We also believe that the complainant’s conduct was aggressive, unreasonable and would have been a police matter had the manager on duty not appeased the situation.”
Responding to the claim he was ‘aggressive’, Chris described the comment as ‘just a simple minded comment to belittle us’, adding that he ‘wasn’t even slightly aggressive’.
“I wouldn’t even say we got that frustrated, more gobsmacked at the response,” he said.
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