Have your say on plans for Five Towns leisure and wellbeing centre
Ref: PR 8358
Residents are being encouraged to share their views on the proposal to build a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose leisure and wellbeing centre in Pontefract Park.
On Tuesday 27 September, Wakefield Council's Cabinet gave the go-ahead for a six-week consultation to start on the plans for the new facility and the proposal to close the outdated leisure centres in Knottingley and Castleford in January 2017, with Pontefract Pool remaining open until around the time the new centre was built.
The plans for the £14.8m complex in Pontefract Park include a 10 lane swimming pool, studio pool with moveable floor, and a splash pad water confidence area. The centre would also offer a gym, exercise studios, a two-court sports hall, a 'clip and climb' activity, café and soft play area as well as meeting rooms for community use and referral rooms for exercise and weight management support. Outside there would be tennis courts, an activity and exercise space, five-a-side 3G (synthetic grass) pitches and car parking.
Cllr Les Shaw, Cabinet Member of Culture, Leisure and Sport said: "I hope people will take the time to share their views on the proposals. This is a fantastic opportunity for the Five Towns to get the first class facilities they deserve.
"We have done extensive work to try and create a leisure complex that meets people's needs now and going forward. The proposals will give residents the chance to access sport, recreation, social and wellbeing activities, and help us all live healthier lives.
"I encourage everyone to look the plans on the website and tell us what they think. You can get involved in the consultation at www.wakefield.gov.uk/5townsleisure or access copies from any of our leisure centres."
The three current leisure facilities in the Five Towns are the oldest of all the Council's leisure properties. Knottingley Sports Centre was built in 1969, Castleford Pool in 1983 and Pontefract Pool in 1985. An external report published in 2014 said that they are beyond the end of their useful life, and are expensive to maintain. It highlighted that they cannot provide the services to meet the current demand, as leisure needs have changed so significantly in the last 30 years.
Cllr Shaw added: "Updating the current pools is not an option. These buildings were designed to last for a certain number of years and they are now all well beyond their expected life, needing significant repairs. Due to the way they were constructed, modernising the existing premises is not easy and would require major construction works. The plant rooms and water heating systems are outdated, damaged and expensive to run.
"Any refurbishment of these sites would be extremely expensive and would never be able to deliver the same facilities that we are proposing for the new leisure and wellbeing centre.
"Modern, new build facilities are designed to incorporate energy efficiencies. This means that, as well as the fantastic offer the public see, the behind-the-scenes plant and equipment are also better designed and cheaper to run."
The consultation runs from Thursday 29 September to Wednesday 9 November.