Fresh hope for doomed sports centre?

Picture by Allan McKenzie/AMGP.co.uk - Knottingley Swimming Pool Closure Protest - Knottingley Sports Centre, Knottingley, England - 030514 - Councillors Harry Ellis & Glen Burton with Tricia Heaton and protestors outside Knottingley swimming pool.
Picture by Allan McKenzie/AMGP.co.uk - Knottingley Swimming Pool Closure Protest - Knottingley Sports Centre, Knottingley, England - 030514 - Councillors Harry Ellis & Glen Burton with Tricia Heaton and protestors outside Knottingley swimming pool.

A doomed leisure centre could be handed a lifeline after it was revealed that interest has been expressed in the site.

Following a recent meeting with Wakefield Council, campaigners were told that two independent parties had inquired about taking over Knottingley Sports Centre.

With both Knottingley and Castleford Swimming Pool earmarked for closure as part of a council cost-cutting measure, both could be potentially saved through a community asset transfer - the council signing over the sites.

But while there is some interest in Knottingley, it is thought there has been no inquiries for Castleford so far, despite fears both could shut next month.

Andy Tagger, who is part of the group campaigning to keep the centres open, said that because Knottingley has a sports hall and activity room, as well as a pool, it makes it a more attractive proposition.

He said: “The problem with Castleford is that it is simply a pool, and it’s difficult to make them pay without the dry site.

“The strength of feeling is the same in Castleford as it is in Knottingley, neither want to lose out.

“Councillor Les Shaw informed us that the council is exploring the potential of those and could eventually see the assets transferred, which was news to us.

“It gives Knottingley a lifeline, but it must be terribly worrying of those living in Castleford.

When approached by the Express, Councillor Les Shaw - the council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport - remained tight lipped over the interest but said the council would update the public in January on the plans.

Wakefield Council have been criticised over the plans to close both facilities, leaving only Pontefract’s pool open.

Eventually, that is to be replaced by a £15m complex at Pontefract Park, although plans are yet to be submitted.

Pontefract and Castleford MP. Yvette Cooper, has not given up hope of saving both existing facilities.

She said: “I’ve been talking to community groups and the Coalfield Regeneration trust to look at every possible option to keep our pools open.

“Several groups are interested so we need more time for them to come up with a plan, and for Wakefield Council to work with them to make it happen.”