Angry residents turned out in force last week to have their say on the future of Minsthorpe Swimming Pool.
About 200 people attended a public meeting in South Elmsall’s Westfield Centre to discuss Wakefield Council’s decision to shut the pool.
The move has been met with outrage by townspeople and local councillors, who have joined forces to set up a petition to save the pool or get another facility in the area.
Coun Steve Tulley, leader of South Elmsall Town Council, who chaired the meeting, said: “What we want now is for the matter to be placed on the agenda for the September 18 full council meeting for an open debate about a decision we believe to be wrong.
“A review of the leisure facilities in the district is ongoing and we’re fully aware of the cuts that need to be made, but Minsthorpe Swimming Pool is all we’ve got in this part of the world and its closure is a massive blow to local people.
“We’re not just talking about a local facility here, we’re talking about the education of our children. Swimming is an integral part of a child’s education and the pool had various affiliations with local schools.
“We need a pool in South Elmsall as much as we need a fire station.”
Wakefield Council’s cabinet decided in July to close the pool permanently following inspections, saying repairs would cost £1.2m.
Proposals have been made for a new £3m replacement pool to be built in 2015 which Coun Tulley hopes will go ahead.
Coun Tulley added: “We either need the funding to repair our existing pool or confirmation that the new one will be built.
“I was satisfied with the proposals because even if the repairs were to be made they would take a while.”
Linda Burden, 58, of South Elmsall, has been employed by the pool since 1976 in various roles, and she believes expenditure on repairs should have come quicker.
She said: “There were definitely repairs that needed doing and had we recieved the money promptly to deal with them early, then we wouldn’t be in the situation we are now.
“I, along with 17 other staff, are waiting to be redeployed to other pools, with some being offered early retirement and redundancy packages. To lose this pool is to lose everything as we’ve nothing else.”
The petition – to be submitted to the district council later this month – can be signed at the Westfield Centre.
A Wakefield Council spokesperson said: “We are able to confirm that a motion has been put forward and the matter will be discussed at the full council meeting on September 18.”