It cost £20m and has only been open 16 months but an award-winning leisure centre has been described as one of the worst in London by fed-up users.

Claims have been made that the Glass Mill's sauna had to be rebuilt after being out of action for three months, lockers are falling apart, a glass panel from the outside plummeted to the ground and a disabled shower was left out of action for nearly a year.

Most distressingly, a young Saxon Crown club swimmer had her hair burned by a gang of youths who sometimes congregate outside the Loampit Vale building - with no security guard around to help.

Pool user Gerard Ambrose, 64, of Manor Lane Terrace, said: "The many, many faults must make this one of the worst builds in the whole of London. 

"It's an absolute disgrace and it's just getting worse and worse. It was never right from day one really.

"In a few years time it will be just as bad as the Ladywell centre it replaced."

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Problems culminated last week when both the pools at the centre - open since last June - were out of action for days on end. Representatives from operators Fusion Lifestyle are now expected to be given a torrid time at a members' forum on November 3 at 6pm.

Meanwhile, a spoof Twitter account, accidentally promoted by several Lewisham councillors, has been set up by one disgruntled gym goer highlighting the daily failings at the centre, from massive queues for swimming lessons to toilet seats left broken for months.

Mr Ambrose said: "Last week both pools were closed due to a mechanical failure in the pumps. 

"The sauna was out of action for nearly three months because of a bad design and build and had to be completely rebuilt. 

"The gym floor was such a bad design and build that they replaced the whole floor over a period of five weeks. 

"A glass panel on the outside fell down just missing a young lady. 

"Consequently all the panels were taken down and fitted correctly with rust proof nuts and bolts as the previous fittings were only screws which rusted. 

"In the men's swimming changing rooms 80 lockers are now broken and the disabled shower has not worked since December 2013. 

"The floors in the men's changing rooms and outside have been partly redesigned due to design faults. The list goes on and on."

Andy Curtis, 49, said his young daughter Millie is now nervous about using the centre after she was attacked by a gang of youths with a lighter on October 17.

The dad-of-two said: "There's a group of youths that hang about outside the centre, terrorising children going into the building.

"My little 10-year-old went to go in swimming but as she went to go in she had her hair set alight."

Millie was physically unharmed but shaken by the experience and Mr Curtis said, though Glass Mill staff were very helpful, better security is required.

He said: "It seems like Glass Mill are doing the best they can but it's sad when you can't even let your 10-year-old daughter go swimming.

"I'd like Fusion to invest in better security, either inside or outside that gives people, not just my child, the safety they need."

Fusion's divisional business manager Neil Dowthwaite said: "We have recently experienced a number of technical issues with some of the facilities we provide at Glass Mill Leisure Centre.

"These have now been rectified and we regret the inconvenience the disruption may have caused to some of our members.

"We continue to work in partnership with Lewisham Council and would always want Lewisham residents to have a first class experience at Glass Mill and our other facilities throughout the borough."