Dissapointment at closure of Knottingley and Castleford Leisure Centres

Published at: March 31, 2017 4:30 PM

I am bitterly disapointed to hear Knottingley and Castleford pools will be forced to close at the beginning of February after our long campaign to try to keep them open.

This is the direct consequence of the brutal £180m cuts that the Government has imposed on Wakefield Council

I am bitterly disapointed to hear Knottingley and Castleford pools will be forced to close at the beginning of February after our long campaign to try to keep them open.

This is the direct consequence of the brutal £180m cuts that the Government has imposed on Wakefield Council - including big cuts to social care budgets just when pressures are rising. The trouble is that this is so short-termist - because if you cut sports and leisure facilities then in the long run you jus...t make it harder for people to stay healthy and push up the costs of social care. Unless the Government puts more money into councils and social care in the Budget, even more local services will be hit, making it even harder for our local councillors. We need an urgent increase in cash from the Chancellor for Wakefield Council or things will get even worse.

I will be meeting tomorrow with one of the local community based groups that was interested in taking over Knottingley Sports Centre to see if there is any last shot at keeping the facilities open. In other parts of the country (for example in Stocksbridge) community asset transfers have managed to keep pools and sports centres open. I'm urging the Council to work with these groups and to give them time to draw up proper plans rather than rush to closure. Having a new pool in Pontefract will be great when it opens in a few years’ time but we need facilities in other towns too. Community takeovers aren't easy given the age of the buildings but I believe every last option should be tried and if anyone else wants to get involved or be kept updated then contact me as soon as possible on 01977 553388 or coopery@parliament.uk.

I have also asked the Council for more information about the regeneration investment that they have announced, as I have long been calling for major new investment in Knottingley town centre.

I also believe there is a wider problem for towns like ours right across the country. It is deeply unfair that towns across Britain are taking the biggest brunt of Government cuts to services, while more new investment and jobs go into the biggest cities so towns get left behind. That's what we've seen time and again over the last few years. Ministers talk a lot about big cities but what are they doing for our towns?

We need a major shift in Government policy to get a fairer deal for towns.


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