VIDEO: Protesters gather over pool closure plans

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Angry campaigners gathered at Castleford Swimming Pool today to protest against plans for its closure.

Around a dozen gathered at the Aketon Road baths, joined by MP Yvette Cooper, to make their feelings known about Wakefield Council’s controversial scheme which would also see the pool at Knottingley mothballed.

Protesters gather at Castleford swimming pool.

Protesters gather at Castleford swimming pool.

Swimmers could be forced to head to Pontefract’s existing pool until that is eventually replaced by a proposed £15m leisure complex at Pontefract Park.

The proposals have angered many, particularly in the Castleford and Knottingley area, who say it would limit access for the young, old and disabled who may be unable to travel.

More than 2,700 signatures have even been collected on a petition to help persuade the council to save the pool.

Chris Stebbings, spokeswoman for the campaigning group said: “We have all sorts of questions but we’ve not had any answers.

“The council says this is a deprived area so why are they taking away our pool? They want people to be more active but how can they be if they do this?

“There’s a lot of anger and disappointment.

“We feel they have looked at the cost-saving and not looked at the impact on the community.”

Pontefract and Castleford’s Labour MP Yvette Cooper added: “The swimming pool is really important to the people of Castleford, just talk to the people who use it.

“It’s about keeping people fit and healthy and that is what everybody is really worried about.

“I’m also worried that this is going to end up costing everybody more in the long run if you end up making it harder for people to stay fit and healthy.”

The consultation period over the closures has now passed, but Wakefield Council is yet to confirm when a decision will be made.

Coun Les Shaw, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “We are continuing to review the feedback and are planning to update everyone as soon as possible.”