Demolition of former pool will begin next week

Wakefield Council has told Knottingley Amateur Swimming Club they are no longer able to teach children to swim at the sports centre.
Wakefield Council has told Knottingley Amateur Swimming Club they are no longer able to teach children to swim at the sports centre.

The demolition of the former Knottingley Sports Centre will begin next week, more than a year after the leisure facility was closed down in a cost-cutting move by Wakefield Council.

The authority shut the centre, as well as Castleford Swimming Pool, last February, claiming they were outdated and expensive to maintain.

'save the pool': Members of Knottingley Amateur Swimming Club who campaigned to keep the sports centre open.

'save the pool': Members of Knottingley Amateur Swimming Club who campaigned to keep the sports centre open.

It plans to replace them, and the current Pontefract Pool, with a new £15m leisure centre in Pontefract Park.

Since the Knottingley facility’s closure, concerns have been raised about anti-social behaviour and vandalism at the site.

But preliminary works have now begun to prepare the centre for demolition.

Coun Jacquie Speight, the council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “We are pleased that works have begun on site at Knottingley Sport Centre.

“The empty building has attracted vandalism and anti-social behaviour in recent months, so we are pleased that plans are moving forward for the demolition.”

The authority said it is appointing a contractor to knock down the building, with demolition expected to begin next week.

Express reader Christine Brookes said on Facebook: “Knottingley Sports Centre was always busy should have been kept open until the new one at Pontefract was built. What about all the schools in the area around Knottingley who are missing out on swimming lessons and who’s going to pay to transport the children to Pontefract?”

Tracy MacInnes added: “Such a disgrace. This should never happen, and if the council had anything about them they would be rebuilding a new leisure centre here.”

And Ruth Juliette Surachmat said: “It’s ok building a big flash centre in Pontefract, but the kids and adults from knottingley, Cas and I presume other areas will suffer from not having their own pools. Very short sighted of the council.”

Members of the council’s cabinet will discuss proposals for a regeneration action plan for Knottingley next week. The authority said it is already working with Wakefield District Housing to improve homes, as well as developing the proposed Pontefract to Knottingley cycle-way.