Work has started on the new £20.8 million leisure centre in Pontefract Park which will be the biggest of its kind in the district.
Planning permission for the centre was granted in January and workmen moved onto the site in recent weeks, preparing the ground for construction.
Councillor Jacquie Speight the council’s cabinet member for leisure and sport said: “I’m absolutely delighted that we can see some real progress on the site.
“We are very near to delivering what will be a state-of-the-art first-class facility which is no less that our residents deserve.
“It’s one of the biggest projects that the council has undertaken and will be the biggest leisure centre in our district.”
On course to open in autumn next year, it will have a 10-lane 25-metre swimming pool, a gym, four tennis courts, a full-size synthetic outdoor pitch, cafe and car park for 250 vehicles.
There will also be ‘health professionals’ on site, which the council says is to help tackle the growing obesity crisis. Coun Speight said: “We want to improve the health and well being of people.
“It’s not just about sport and leisure, we have targets that we have across the district when it comes to health.”
But while Wakefield Council is keen to promote the new leisure centre, it has not been without opposition.
More than 40 letters of objection were submitted prior to planning permission being granted, including some who insisted the land was already earmarked for a relief road.
In addition, the closure of two swimming pools in Knottingley and Castleford to cut costs in recent years also angered many.
While the council insists the new leisure is designed to cater for all residents across the district, many argue it was shortsighted to shut centres in other towns, claiming many don’t have the transport to reach Pontefract Park.