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Spa group's outrage as cameras installed in Clapton leisure centre sauna after assault

PUBLISHED: 08:58 23 March 2016 | UPDATED: 08:58 23 March 2016

Kings Hall Leisure Centre in Clapton. Picture: Google Maps

Kings Hall Leisure Centre in Clapton. Picture: Google Maps

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An over 50s group have complained after cameras were installed in a leisure centre sauna - because a member of staff was assaulted there.

“The Ladies of Spa”, 25 women all aged 50 to 85, are regulars at Kings Hall Leisure Centre, Lower Clapton Road.

For health reasons they use the gym, and always follow their workout with a relaxing session in the sauna.

But they were outraged last week when they spotted cameras in the room.

“It is a privacy breach,” said a 67-year-old spokeswoman for the group. “When you are an elderly individual with a disability you want to go to the gym and then in the sauna to relax.

“Some of the women suffer from depression and don’t want to be seen; others are Muslim and for cultural reasons shouldn’t be seen.”

Hackney Council and operator GLL, which runs the leisure centre through its provider Better, installed cameras for safety and security reasons after a member of staff was assaulted last month, it is understood.

But the woman, who did not want to be named, said that should not have impacted on their privacy. “I’ve been going to saunas since I was 16 and have never heard of it,” she added. “Some of the women have parts of their body that are not in working order and have been told by doctors to go to the gym.

“Some go every day and some go three times a week, but we all use the sauna every time.”

A spokeswoman for Hackney Council said: “In partnership with GLL, we installed cameras in the sauna to ensure the safety and security of customers and staff following an assault on a member of staff last month.

“Whilst we understand the concerns raised, the safety of those in the building has to take priority. Only a small number of the management team will have access to the cameras, as is the case with all of the centre cameras, and customers should be wearing bathing costumes in the sauna as per the rules.”

She was not able to confirm allegations the staff member had been locked in a cupboard.

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