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Protestors say ‘our pool must be saved’

Picture by Allan McKenzie/AMGP.co.uk - Knottingley Swimming Pool Closure Protest - Knottingley Sports Centre, Knottingley, England - 030514 -

Picture by Allan McKenzie/AMGP.co.uk - Knottingley Swimming Pool Closure Protest - Knottingley Sports Centre, Knottingley, England - 030514 -

Campaigners and councillors in Knottingley staged a protest against plans to close the town’s swimming pool.

The protestors gathered outside the sports centre on Saturday morning to voice their opinions on Wakefield Council’s proposals to close the facility.

In February the council announced plans to close Pontefract, Castleford and Knottingley pools and replace them with one leisure centre in either Glass Houghton or at Pontefract Park.

Tricia Heaton, who organised the protest, said: “Me and my friends have been using the pool for years and I can’t believe they’re even thinking about shutting it.

“I think we need to let the council know that we really want to keep our pool that’s why I organised the protest.

“It’s been suggested that if the pool was to close it could be run by the community but I think the council has a responsibility to provide swimming facilities in Knottingley.”

A report, commissioned by the council in February, identified that Knottingley, Pontefract and Castleford pools were in need of £1.3m worth of urgent repairs, with ‘potential failure of any of these three a realistic prospect in the near future’.

It set out a number of options, including closing the three sites and building a new leisure centre in Glass Houghton, at Pontefract Park or at the former Prince of Wales Colliery site.

The facility would cost between £12.6m and £13.6m, depending on the location.

Under the plan, Knottingley Sports Centre would be upgraded, with an additional 30 health and fitness stations provided, at a cost of £2.4m.

But Ms Heaton said she feared for the future of other facilities at the sports centre, if the pool was to close.

She said: “The cost of getting to another pool would just be too much for some people and there is also the fact that we would have to share it with three other towns – it’s just not practical.

“The pool is the only leisure facility in Knottingley so it will be massive loss for the people of Knottingley if it was to close.”

Knottingley councillor Harry Ellis said the pool offers facilities not available elsewhere in the district.

Coun Ellis said: “The only bad point about the pool is that it’s 60 years old but it’s not run down.

“It has a gallery for spectators and it is 10m deep meaning synchronised swimmers and scuba divers can use it.

“I think if it was to close it would be a huge loss for Knottingley that’s why I’m supporting the residents of the town in their campaign.”

 

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