Work starts on new £20million leisure centre

Coun Jaccqie Speight with ward councillors at Five Towns Leisure Centre.
Coun Jaccqie Speight with ward councillors at Five Towns Leisure Centre.

Work has begun to build the largest leisure hub of its kind in the Wakefield district.

Inspecting the site on Thursday was Coun Jacquie Speight, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, who was accompanied by ward councillors and representatives from Willmott Dixon North, the company chosen by the council to build the hub.

Coun Speight said: “I’m really excited to visit the site at the start and look forward to keeping everyone updated of its progress.

“This new, state-of-the art leisure facility will have something for everyone, regardless of age or ability.

“Residents will have access to facilities that are not only about keeping fit but aimed at giving you the chance to have better mental and physical health and wellbeing.

“We want the centre to change people’s lives and to achieve that we will have a range of social and wellbeing activities to support people of all ages whether that is to prevent social isolation, manage long term conditions such as diabetes or weight management, or just to come and have some fun.”

Facilities at the leisure centre will include a 10-lane swimming pool, studio pool with moveable floor, and a splash pad water confidence area.

The large water space available will enable people of all abilities to engage with water based activities, from the first steps a toddler may take into water to a muscle mobility session aimed at keeping older people more independent.

The centre will also have a 115 station gym, two exercise studios and a dedicated spin studio.

A café and a meeting room which can be booked for community events will create further opportunities for people to get together.

Referral rooms will be available for private discussions with onsite specialist advisors for anyone who wishes to seek support with physical activity or weight management.

Outside there will be four tennis courts, a wellbeing garden, an interactive play area and a full size 3G Artificial Grass pitch.

Anthony Dillon, Managing Director of Willmott Dixon in the North, said: “We are delighted to start work on this flagship project which will be a fantastic new addition for the town. We'll also support the local economy by using businesses from the area whenever possible during the build programme; we want to leave a lasting legacy that all can be proud of.”

The hub has been designed by an architect company, based in the North of England, GT3.

Sustainability and accessibility are at the heart of the new hub.

The centre goes beyond the standard regulations for accessibility. During the design stage a local disability group was consulted, to ensure the centre will be accessible to people of all abilities.

To create a building that is kind to the environment the designers have installed a number of features including a combined heating and power system which will reuse the waste heat from the swimming pool hall to produce energy. Any excess energy not used by the hub will be sent back to the power grid.

The flagship leisure facility is due to open in autumn 2020.