Ambitious plans for Five Towns Leisure and Wellbeing Centre are moving forward
Proposals for a new leisure centre for the Five Towns are gathering momentum with Wakefield Council expected to submit a planning application for the project this summer.
The Five Towns Leisure and Wellbeing Centre would create a new complex in Pontefract Park, with facilities to include a 10-lane swimming pool, studio pool with moveable floor, and a splash pad water confidence area.
Other facilities would include a gym, exercise studios, a two-court sports hall, climbing 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, a full size 3G (synthetic grass) pitches and car parking.
If approved the new building would add to the Council's new and modern facilities.
In March, the Council opened a new £5m leisure centre in Minsthorpe, housing a new pool, gym and exercise classes for adults and children. Since opening over a thousand people have become members.
Cllr Jacquie Speight, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport at Wakefield Council, said: "We want to give people in our district the opportunity to enjoy great leisure facilities in modern buildings.
"I am pleased that we have already delivered the fantastic Minsthorpe Leisure this year which is already hugely popular. And we are now on track to deliver the new Five Towns facility in 2020.
"We are working in a very tough financial climate, where £171m has been taken from our budget since 2011. Against this background, I am especially proud that we have already successfully delivered one centre, and the second centre is on schedule."
If planning permission is granted for the project, work is expected to start by the end of this year with the centre opening in the summer of 2020.
As part of the district's planning for new leisure facilities, Knottingley Sports Centre was closed in February last year after an external report highlighted that it, and Castleford Swimming Pool, could not provide the services to meet the current demand as leisure needs have changed so significantly in the last 30 years. It also reported that the centres were beyond the end of their useful life and were expensive to maintain.
The Five Towns Leisure and Wellbeing Centre would replace the facilities in Knottingley and Castleford. It would also replace the pool at Pontefract – which will close as the new facility opens.
Work to demolish Knottingley Sports Centre, started this week with the work expected to take approximately eight weeks. The site, which had attracted vandalism and anti-social behaviour, will be secured after the demolition work has been completed. The land is for sale for commercial development.