Protest against Wakefield Council’s plan to axe three swim pools

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CAMPAIGNERS fighting Wakefield Council’s proposals to axe three swimming pools and build just one replacement are to stage a protest tomorrow. (Thurs July 2)

Council chiefs are seeking to close pools in Castleford, Pontefract and Knottingley and build one new pool in the Pontefract and Castleford area.

The local authority yesterday launched a public consultation on the closure proposals, which were revealed in February as the council seeks to make budget cuts of £61m in 2014/15 and 2015/16.

Dozens of placard waving protestors from the 5-Towns Pools Campaign are expected to gather outside Pontefract swimming pool at 6.30pm tomorrow.

The group plan to hand a petition of more than 8,500 signatures to Coun Les Shaw, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport.

Campaign co-ordinator Jeff Allinson said: “Closing the pools would be a drastic move which would badly affect both physical and mental health in the area.

“Old, young, fit and disabled swimmers, clubs and schools, canoeists and water polo players – all are extremely concerned at the threatened loss of their facilities.”

Christine Trinder, secretary of Knottingley Swimming Club, has organised an online petition at www.knottingleyasc.co.uk which has been signed by more than 1,000 people.

She said: “We are a voluntary club who offer affordable swimming and lifesaving lessons. If the pool closes our 250 members will have nowhere to go.”

Coun Shaw, said: “I strongly encourage everyone to have their say and take part in the leisure services consultation.

“We’d like everyone to take part to help us provide the best services in light of the increasing financial challenges.”

The consultation runs until August 12.

Go to www.wakefield.gov.uk/leisureconsultation or compete a paper version available at council swimming pools, sport centres and libraries.

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