The community of South Elmsall united against the closure of Minsthorpe Swimming Pool at a public protest on Saturday.
Members of the Minsthorpe Pool Action Group (MPAG) were joined by councillors and local families as around 200 people staged a demonstration outside the Ash Grove pool.
About 800 blue plaques – signed by people who learned to swim at the pool – were displayed on placards and plastered to the shutters of the facility, which was the largest pool in the district, with six lanes, a learner pool and a sauna.
The plaques are being sent to Wakefield Council today as part of the MPAG’s campaign to save the facility. The demonstrators had also prepared banners asking the council to ‘save our pool’.
The protest was held two days before a district-wide leisure review was due to be presented to the council’s regeneration and economic growth overview and scrutiny committee.
But the report – expected to reveal whether the council plans to reopen the pool – was not ready in time and the matter was withdrawn from the agenda.
A council spokeswoman said the report, initially due to be completed in November, would now be presented to a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, February 11, as part of the budget process.
Minsthorpe Pool was closed in April 2013 for ‘essential maintenance works’ but the council later announced plans to permanently close the facility as repairs amounted to £1.2m. Essential works included repairing a crack in the pool and updating the filtration system, which was in ‘poor condition’.
The MPAG was formed by local residents angry at the closure of another facility in the south east. The group has already presented a 1,200-strong petition to the council and demonstrated outside the meeting where a decision was made to include Minsthorpe in the leisure review after a motion by district councillor Steve Tulley.
Andrew Picken, group spokesman, said: “Children are being denied their basic right to swim – a right that I had even in the 1980s. I remember looking forward to going to the baths as a child and that is something that a large number of children in our area will no longer have. Many parents can’t afford to go further afield.
“Minsthorpe was not just a pool – it was the hub of our community. People would go there once or twice a week and it was a social outing. It was used by young children, and elderly as well as people of working age – every sector really.
“There is a feeling Wakefield Council has not spread the austerity measures fairly across the district.
“The city centre gets a new £10m leisure centre while here in the south east we have yet another facility taken away from us.”
The council declined to comment.