Plans for new leisure centre in Pontefract Park given funding

Five Town Leisure Centre impression
Five Town Leisure Centre impression

A scheme to build a new leisure centre in Pontefract has been handed an extra £6m.

The complex, which will feature a 10 lane swimming pool, studio pool, gym and climbing zone, is expected to be complete and open by the summer of 2020.

The centre will replace the ageing Pontefract Pool and closed leisure facilities at Castleford and Knottingley.

Just under £15m was originally set aside for the project, but now councillors have approved a budget of £20.8m.

Wakefield councillor Les Shaw, portfolio holder for corporate services, said he hoped the district would earn a reputation for being a “health and wellbeing hub”.

Speaking at a council cabinet meeting, he said: “We’re moving forward and I think it’s good for the health of the district.

“It’s just not swimming pools we’re talking about now. It’s actual centres with gyms, with facilities and all the rest of it. I think it’s an absolute necessity.

“If you look at where we were four years ago, I think we’ve come a long way.”

A report on the leisure centre says that it will offer activities that are “affordable” and “accessible” to people living in the Five Towns.

It said: “The need to increase sport and physical activity levels across the district are well documented.

“Despite many years of work, Wakefield continues to have significant health issues.

“The facility will seek to inspire a new generation of residents to take part in physical activity and help tackle inequalities through active and healthy lifestyles.”

Pontefract Pool will not close before the new leisure centre is open, the council have confirmed.

Coun Maureen Cummings, portfolio holder for communities, said she welcomed the extra cash.

She said: “It’s been a long time in coming, but I hope we can deliver it very soon.”

David Spereall , Local Democracy Reporting Service