New members turned away from [email protected] in Pontefract due to high demand

New members at a new state-of-the-art leisure facility are being turned away because of overwhelming demand.

By David Spereall
Thursday, 10th February 2022, 4:31 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th February 2022, 4:32 pm
The state-of-the-art centre opened to the public last spring.
The state-of-the-art centre opened to the public last spring.

[email protected] Park, in Pontefract, opened its doors to the public last spring.

But Wakefield Council, which built and owns the £20m facility, has placed a temporary block on new memberships, after admitting it is struggling to cope with the number of gym goers who want to use it.

The council's Cabinet member for leisure, Michael Graham, said he'd taken the "difficult decision" for the benefit of existing members.

Sign up to our daily Wakefield Express Today newsletter

Councillor Graham said Covid restrictions meant capacity had been restricted.

Speaking at a full council meeting on Wednesday, Councillor Graham said: "One of the problems we've got is that in January and February, almost everyone is trying to lose weight after Christmas, and the memberships just go through the roof.

"With Covid we've had to space out the gym equipment, and so there's less capacity.

"That's created a real issue for us.

"While we have loads of new people signing up, the quality of the offer is not where I would like it to be, and so I did take the difficult decision to freeze the memberships temporarily, so that those who've paid money for the service get to use the equipment."

Before the freeze, adult memberships at [email protected] were being charged at £25 a month, or £275 a year.

In the meantime, the council is encouraging people to use their leisure facilities in other parts of the district.

Local Democracy Reporting Service