Plan to keep Lightwaves swimming pool open

Next Generation Youth and Community Project has submitted a business plan to Wakefield Council for the running and management of Lightwaves. The swimming pool has to be removed due to a pending essential maintenance bill of �500,000 - but it will be used for extreme sports instead. Decision expected early January.'L to R) Tony Fradgley, Yubi, John Hall, Ilonka Van Rijn, Ellen Wakefield.'w7300a150
Next Generation Youth and Community Project has submitted a business plan to Wakefield Council for the running and management of Lightwaves. The swimming pool has to be removed due to a pending essential maintenance bill of �500,000 - but it will be used for extreme sports instead. Decision expected early January.'L to R) Tony Fradgley, Yubi, John Hall, Ilonka Van Rijn, Ellen Wakefield.'w7300a150
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A SWIMMING pool will make way for an extreme sports arena if a group’s bid to keep Lightwaves open is successful.

Next Generation Youth and Community Project said it would transform the Marsh Way site’s pool area into a place for bouldering, climbing, BMXing, rollerblading and skateboarding.

It said the pool would have to be removed because of damage to its structure caused by chemicals in the water.

Project manager Mohammed Ayub, who has submitted a business plan to the council, said: “The pool is checked annually and it is perfectly safe at the moment. But it is not sustainable. If we change the use of the area we can do things more cheaply.

“In winter the skate park at Thornes is often out of action so it would be good to give people somewhere indoors to take part in ‘extreme’ activities.”

Wakefield Council announced they would close Lightwaves next July when a new pool at Sun Lane opens.

Lisa Dodd, service director for sport, confirmed that pending repairs had pushed the council to close Lightwaves.

She said: “The work would cost at least £500,000 and this would increase in the future as the building deteriorates. It would not be a good use of public money so we took the decision to invest in a new, more cost-effective facility.”

Ms Dodd said it would not be financially viable to run both Lightwaves and Sun Lane.

Mr Ayub said Next Generation would apply for grant funding to renovate the building if its bid was successful.

He added: “We have lots of funding opportunities available to us. It is vital for Wakefield’s Olympic legacy that Lightwaves stays open.”

Next Generation will discuss their bid with the council’s assessment panel on Wednesday.

Ms Dodd said if a bid were not successful, the council would look to provide new venues for clubs currently using Lightwaves after it closes.