So many people used Thornton Heath's £8million state-of-the-art leisure centre in its first month of opening, turnstyles are going to be fitted to improve security.

At a neighbourhood partnership meeting at Winterbourne Junior Girls' School last Wednesday, manager Garry King explained that the centre on the High Street had already had 5,200 admissions to swim since officially opening on May 1.

As well as conducting 9,500 walking tours of the centre, around 700 people had joined as members, taking advantage of fitness facilities.

Mr King explained: "Around 450 of those 700 centre members had called up before the centre had even opened.

"It's amazing. I've not been in this area for very long, but it's clear that people had been waiting for the centre for quite a while.

"The swimming pool is very popular.

"A lot of residents seem to want to just come in here and have a swim."

With so many people using the centre, Mr King said he is having to arrange for a turnstyle entrance system to be fitted which will improve the centre's security.

The system should be intalled within the next three months.

The centre currently offers a 25-metre pool, a learner pool, sports hall and health and fitness centre and also houses a Healthy Living Centre managed by Croydon Voluntary Action.

Although owned by Croydon Council, the centre is run by Parkwood Leisure.