New pool in the park plan moves closer

Pontefract Park where a new multi-million pound pool could be built.
Pontefract Park where a new multi-million pound pool could be built.

Plans to close swimming pools in Pontefract, Castleford and Knottingley and replace them with a multi-million pound leisure centre in Pontefract Park are expected to move a step nearer.

Wakefield Council is expected to commission an independent report into whether the new facility is feasible at a cabinet meeting later this month.

A report to the meeting also recommends the cabinet approves a recommendation for council officers to look into the possibility of outsourcing the management of the district’s leisure facilities.

Coun Les Shaw, the council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “We want to deliver top-class leisure facilities because we believe that’s what people in our area deserve.

“If you look at the three existing sites, they have served a really good purpose but they are past their time.

“Unfortunately, we can’t build three new pools, so building a top-quality leisure centre in Pontefract can help us deliver what people deserve.”

Wakefield Council first announced plans to close pools in Pontefract, Castleford and Knottingley as part of budget cuts last February.

Pontefract Park was recommended as the site for a replacement facility in December.

Coun Shaw said: “We want the new facility to be a leisure hub. The feasibility study will throw up all of the finer details but we want to it to link in with the park, with Pontefract town centre and with the existing facilities at Xscape.”

The scrutiny committee also originally recommended spending £2.5m on repairing the pool at Knottingley in December but, if approved, the latest proposals would see the swimming pool close.

Coun Shaw said: “We are aware of the distance people living in Knottingley will have to travel to get to the new facility but we are also aware of what we can afford.”