Pool plan to save cash

Pontefract swimming pool.
Pontefract swimming pool.

SWIMMING pools across the district will see their opening hours changed as Wakefield Council looks to make savings of £22m this year.

Residents flocked to the Express’ Facebook page to share their concerns after council chiefs announced earlier this week that pools in Castleford, Pontefract and Featherstone will all see changes to their timetables.

From April 2, Pontefract and Castleford pools will open one hour earlier but close at 9.30pm during the week and at 2.30pm on Sunday.

In Featherstone, the pool will also open one hour earlier during the week, but close on Sunday at 1pm.

Express Facebook fan Paul Fennell said: “Most people work so don’t have the opportunity to use the pools except on Sundays. By closing them early the council is driving people away.”

Heather Speight added: “It’s not too bad, but it’s bad about Sunday as most people use this as a day to take children swimming.”

Philip Begley suggested: “Open later at 10.30am, close at 7.30pm and open longest on a Saturday and Sunday. Put staff on a rolling shift pattern to cover these hours. Simple and straightforward.”

The council held a public consultation using ballot forms at leisure centres earlier this month asking residents to choose from two cost saving options, which will help save £100,000.

Option A suggested changes to the opening hours of swimming pools at weekends and evenings. Option B opted for closing pools for one day during the week.

Officers found option A received the most number of votes at Castleford, Featherstone and Pontefract swimming pools.

Coun David Dagger, cabinet member for culture, sport and libraries, said: “We need to make considerable savings for the year ahead and this means making some difficult decisions.

“Making these changes to the opening times of our swimming pools will ensure that we can keep all our leisure facilities open, and continue to offer a great service to people across the district.”

Visit www.wakefield.gov.uk/poolconsultation for full results of the consultation and go to www.wakefield.gov.uk/cultureandleisure to view the new opening times.