A campaign to provide swimming facilities in the south east of the district has been a resounding success after Wakefield Council announced plans to build a new pool.
Minsthorpe Swimming Pool in South Elmsall closed down last year and the Express backed a campaign to have it reopened or to have a new pool built in the area.
On Monday, the council proposed building a new facility as part of its district-wide review of leisure services. The full review will be made public on February 4. A report recommending approval of the planned facility will go to cabinet on February 11. Once it gets the go-ahead, council officers will discuss the details, such as funding and location, with schools and town councils.
The new facility could be built on the Ash Grove site, although the council said it will look at a number of locations. The old pool building – which needs more than £1.2m of repairs to bring it up to standard – will not be used.
Members of the Minsthorpe Pool Action Group (MPAG) welcomed the news.
Andy Picken, group spokesman, said: “We would like to reassure the local community that we will still continue to represent them, and continue our activities until such a new swimming facility is built.
“We have, and still wish to have, an open dialogue with the council and would welcome any input we can have in the planning process of any new swimming facility.
“We still hold our position that Minsthorpe Pool should have remained open, as a temporary measure, to make sure residents in the area did not incur the clear gap in provision that is now evident.
“However, we are strongly behind proposals for a swimming facility to be built in the south east, and eagerly await further details of these. MPAG is representative of the whole community that has been affected by the closure of Minsthorpe Pool, and therefore takes no credit for the proposals – but we feel that these proposals are a significant victory for the entire community that has worked so hard to get their voice heard.”
Coun David Dagger, cabinet member for culture, sport and libraries, said: “We recognise that, even though the council faces huge financial challenges, there is a clear need for a swimming facility in the south east. It is clearly unfair there is no provision in this part of the district and working with local people, we intend to resolve this.
“This report is a big step forward – and one which we know a lot of people in the south east have been waiting for.
“We know the closure of Minsthorpe Pool was not popular but we had no choice. We now have an opportunity to build a modern, fit-for-purpose swimming pool and give local people the high quality leisure facility they deserve.”