Minsthorpe pool campaigners win ‘victory for community’

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save Minsthorpe swimming pool in South Elmsall from permanent closure have welcomed a Wakefield Council proposal to build a new pool in the area.
Protestors outside Minsthorpe swimming pool earlier this monthProtestors outside Minsthorpe swimming pool earlier this month
Protestors outside Minsthorpe swimming pool earlier this month

The local authority today ( Tuesday Jan 28) announced it plans build a new swimming pool for the south east of Wakefield district as part of a review of its leisure services.

Members of Minsthorpe Pool Action Group (MPAG) have been campaigning to get the pool re-opened after is was ‘temporarily’ closed for essential maintenance works’ last April.

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It was not re-opened and council chiefs said it would be permanently closed after announcing that repairs amounted to £1.2m due to a crack in the pool and a filtration system in poor condition.

Objectors were angry at the closure as the nearest Wakefield Council run pool is eight miles away in Pontefract.

MPAG spokesman Andrew Picken said: “This is a victory for the community. People will feel as though Wakefield Council has listened to them.”

Mr Picken said the group will want to be involved in discussions with Wakefield Council about location of the proposed new pool.

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A report to Wakefield Council’s decision-making cabinet on February 11 will recommend the new pool.

If approved, council officers will discuss the location of the pool and future funding options with local councillors, schools and local town and parish councils.

Coun David Dagger, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for culture, sport and libraries, said: “We recognise that, even though the council faces huge financial challenges, there is a clear need for a swimming facility in the south east.

“It is clearly unfair that there is no provision in this part of the district and working with local people, we intend to resolve this.

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“Once the report is approved we will begin discussions with town and parish councils and the schools in the south east to establish the best location for a new pool. We will be looking at a number of locations, one of which will be the site of current Minsthorpe pool, however the building is unsustainable and cannot be used for the new facility.

“This report is a big step forward, and one which we know a lot of people in the south east have been waiting for. We know the closure of Minsthorpe Pool was not popular but we had no choice.

“We now have an opportunity to build a modern, fit-for-purpose swimming pool and give local people the high quality leisure facility they deserve.”

Mr Picken said in a statement from MPAG: “After almost a year without a swimming facility in the area, we as a group, along with local councillors I am sure and the local community, welcome the proposals put forward by Wakefield Council.

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“We are sure the local community will be pleased that the council clearly recognise the need for a swimming facility to be provided in the area”.

“However we would like to reassure the community that we will still continue to represent them, and continue our activities until such a new swimming facility is built.”

“We have, and still wish to have, an open dialogue with Wakefield Council and would welcome any input we can have in the planning process of any new swimming facility

“We still hold our position that Minsthorpe Pool should have remained open, as a temporary measure, to make sure residents in the area did not incur the clear gap in provision that is now evident.

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“However, we are strongly behind proposals for a swimming facility to be built in the south east, and eagerly await further details of these.”

“We will issue further comments when we have reviewed further details and the outcome of the leisure service review that will be published in a cabinet report on February 4 and will be considered by cabinet on February