New leisure centre plans for Pontefract Park

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A new £14.8m leisure centre could be built in Pontefract Park.

Plans for the complex, unveiled this week, include a 10 lane swimming pool, studio pool, gym and exercise suites, a sports hall and a climbing zone.

The centre would replace existing leisure facilities in Castleford, Knottingley and Pontefract, which would close under the proposals.

Coun Les Shaw, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member of culture, leisure and sport said: “It is unprecedented in the Five Towns area to have a facility like this, so I believe we must seize this unique and exciting opportunity to create a new future for the health and wellbeing of the Five Towns.

“We want to provide something that meets people’s needs now and going forward, that gives our residents the first class facilities they deserve.”

Wakefield Council’s Cabinet will meet on Tuesday, September 27 to discuss proposals for the centre. It would also accommodate a cafe and soft play area, community space and exercise referral rooms as well as outdoor tennis courts and five-a-side 3G pitches.

Senior councillors are being asked to approve the start of a public consultation on the plans and on the closure of the current leisure sites.

Castleford Pool, built in 1983 and Knottingley Sports Centre, built in 1969, would shut in January. But Pontefract Pool, dating back to 1985, would remain open until the new centre was built.

The council said it spends more than £750k per year maintaining the Castleford and Knottingley sites. And it said an external report published in 2014 said they were “beyond the end of their useful life” and could not meet current demand.

Coun Shaw said: “Ideally, we would have liked to keep all the existing facilities open until the new leisure centre is built.

“However, this is just not possible.

“Over £146m has already been wiped off our budget and there are more government cuts to come.”