Over 600 people flocked to Matlock’s new leisure centre for a sneak preview on Friday.
Visitors had a chance to take a guided tour of the major £12 million development at the Dimple which opens this summer.
But the open day, hosted by Derbyshire Dales District Council, was marred for some people who were turned away from the centre after 6pm, despite the event advertised as running from 12noon to 7pm.
A spokesman for the district council said most people enjoyed their tour of the Arc and more than 250 people registered to be kept informed about the centre’s progress.
He added: “We were amazed by the turn out but we concede in retrospect that we should have had a last arrival time of 6.30pm.
“The good news is we will be hopefully having another open day before the centre opens when there will be more to see and children will be able to attend.”
Visitor Adrian Fletcher, who arrived at 6.40pm but was turned away, said: “It really isn’t that difficult to co-ordinate the last party departure with the publicised closure time and this was clearly well before 7pm so why publicise 7pm?
“The early evening timing was clearly important for working people.”
Paul Richards added: “Who was responsible for advertising a time that clearly could not be achieve because it was getting dark and you needed to be in a guided tours?”
The council said it had received positive feedback about the centre and most visitors were impressed by the way it is going to look and by the facilities that will be available.
The spokesman added: “The interest was incredible.
“At peak times the waiting time for tours was longer than we might have wished, but at the moment Arc Leisure Matlock is still a building site and therefore safety had to be the number one consideration.
“We are now working hard towards the summer opening when people will be able to come and enjoy all that Arc Leisure Matlock will have to offer.”
Visitors also had a chance to see a DVD of the Arc story so far, which is available to view on the district council’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/derbyshiredalesdc
The centre, being built on a reclaimed site between Matlock and Darley Dale, features an eight-lane main pool with moveable floor that meets regional competition standards, a learner pool, a wet play area and a sports hall that has regional standard badminton courts, indoor hockey, basketball, volleyball, five-a-side football, cricket practice and netball. A cafe, meeting room, fitness suite, community facility and a second sports hall for gymnastics, martial arts, aerobics, dance classes and parties.
n Did you get to look around? What did you think about the centre? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. See this week’s letters page for comments.