Mixed reactions over £15m leisure centre plans

Plans to create a new £14.8m leisure centre in Pontefract Park have been met with mixed reactions.

Thursday, 22nd September 2016, 11:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 2:15 pm
Plans are in place for a new £15m leisure centre in Pontefract Park

Wakefield Council unveiled proposals for the facility, which would include a 10 lane swimming pool, gym and exercise suites, a sports hall, tennis courts and a climbing zone, last week.

The centre would replace Castleford Pool and Knottingley Sports Centre, which would both close in January, and Pontefract Pool, which would shut close to the opening of the new centre.

Some said the modern facilities were much-needed.

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What the new £15m leisure centre in Pontefract Park could look like.

Lucy Beasley said on Facebook: “All our local pools are old and shabby. We need something like this for local families to enjoy.” Mark Bates agreed, writing: “It is about time they did something all the pools around here are in dire need of refurbishment or demolition.”

Pontefract North councillor Clive Tennant welcomed the plan. He said: “I think it is exciting news and hopefully the state-of-the-art facilities will encourage people to take up exercise and live an active lifestyle.” Fellow ward councillor Lorna Malkin added: “It is going to be an amazing facility not just for Pontefract but for the whole of the five towns.” And Coun Jacquie Speight, for Altofts and Whitwood, said: “I think it is going to be a fabulous amenity that our residents deserve.”

Others raised concerns about the loss of current facilities and whether the new centre would accommodate all users. Knottingley councillor Graham Stokes said: “I have got no problem with the new facility in Pontefract and I think it will be fantastic. But they are closing Pontefract, Castleford and Kottingley and opening just one facility.”

Reader Lesley Allen said: “To close three pools down and replace them with one is disgusting. You won’t have room to move let alone swim. It’s more hassle for people who don’t drive to get there.”

What the new £15m leisure centre in Pontefract Park could look like.

Adele Plumb wrote on Facebook: “How are people supposed to get to this new facility, older people and vulnerable who can just walk there currently, no longer will have that luxury.”

Diane Gillis said: “We don’t want our old swimming pools closing.” And Jackie Laver added: “Why not spend that money on updating the ones we have?”

Wakefield Council said the new centre would be located on the park’s current tennis courts. It said there were good transport links from Castleford and Knottingley to Pontefract, with buses stopping outside the park.

The council said the current pools were in need of major, costly repairs. It plans to demolish the buildings shortly after they shut.