Demolition of former pool to begin

The shut Minsthorpe pool. (H521E333)
The shut Minsthorpe pool. (H521E333)

Work to demolish the former Minsthorpe Swimming Pool as part of a plan to regenerate the south east will get underway next month.

Wakefield Council will start demolishing the Ash Grove building, which closed as a swimming pool in 2013, on November 9.

Preparatory works will begin on Monday, October 6 and the building is expected to be complete by Christmas.

Coun Les Shaw, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “Demolition is the safest and most cost-effective solution to deal with the empty building.

“Although the demolition marks the end of an era for this building it also heralds a new chapter in modern, high quality leisure provision in the south east.”

The pool site has been subject to arson attacks and vandalism since it was closed down by the council.

Coun Denise Jeffery, the council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “The site has been a bit of an eyesore since it closed and we were worried it would become dangerous.

“The designs for the new bungalows are fabulous and will hopefully provide much-needed extra housing provision in the area.”

The pool was initially closed for repairs after a crack was found in the pool and its filtration system was in a poor condition.

But an investment of more than £1.2m was needed to fix the facility and in June 2013 the council shut the pool down permanently after they said it was not “financially viable” to upgrade it.

Council leader Peter Box said: “I can confirm that we are working very hard with the college to make sure there are new, first-class swimming facilities for that area.

“We are still committed to this scheme.”

The first project to be completed was the £80,000 development of the Kinsley and Fitzwilliam Learning and Community Centre.

The funding was used to convert two empty units at the centre into training rooms for hairdressing students.

Coun Denise Jeffery, cabinet member for economic growth and skills, said: “This funding has made fantastic improvements to the Kinsley and Fitzwilliam Learning and Community Centre.

“It will make sure that more young people will be able to access valuable training for their careers in the district.”

Centre manager Michelle Rayner said: “We are very grateful to the local authority as this is a project we have wanted to do for several years.

“We started running the classes in September and already we have 36 students. It will make a big impact to the community because it will give the students the qualifications to go out and work.”

The council is working on more than 30 other projects including improving Upton Pavilion, building a new skate park in Minsthorpe and improving roads in Havercroft.

Coun Jeffery said: “These projects have been chosen to help make a real difference to people in our communities.

“With more limited resources available, we have focused on key projects which will make a difference in our communities and deliver economic growth in the district.

“The majority of the projects are still in there very early stages but I look forward to welcoming these improvements to the South East over the next couple of years.”