Today Wakefield Metropolitan District Council published the timetables for the new Minsthorpe swimming pool and leisure facility, due to open in April, and the timetable is frankly baffling. All too often we are told that children around the area are rogue, that families are unfit and overweight. All too often we use the excuse ‘there is nothing for kids to do’. And in their wisdom Wakefield Metropolitan District Council have decided that such leisure and fitness is only open to those who, let’s face it, don’t work. The timetable provides not a single day where the pool or other facilities open prior to 8am, meaning anyone wanting to nip for a swim or to the gym before work, after a night shift or before setting out on a school run can’t do so. Weekends are even more ridiculous, the centre will close at 2pm on both Saturday and Sunday, the days when families have no school to get in the way of special family time and when many workers enjoy at least one full day off.
Whilst it is brilliant that Wakefield Metropolitan District Council have finally provided us in the S.E.S.K.U. area with something for council taxes (of which we pay the highest in the entire Wakefield district) let us not forget that this new centre is merely replacing the former Minsthorpe baths, and with what appears to be a good but inferior facility. The old centre provided not one but two pools, a large pool for competition and adults alongside a heated small pool for families and children. The old facility also boasted a sauna and excellent cafe and viewing gallery which altogether made it the perfect choice for everything from family/toddler groups to the Minsthorpe Marlins competitive team. Sure, this new facility encompasses a gym but Minsthorpe already has such facilities at the excellent Minsthorpe College and Minsthorpe Sports and Leisure facilities which were so well equipped they served as a training centre for national teams for the London 2012 Olympics.
So, whilst i of course welcome the new facility, in that it replaces a need that was created by the closure of the old one, it is pretty clear that Wakefield Metropolitan District Council has massively misjudged our communities needs and wants. The reaction on social media today has proven disastrous for them, with comments including;
In my opinion, i think you should have more of the public swimming after 2pm on a Saturday and Sunday due to the fact that’s the only time people get to take their kids swimming. I for one cannot use it through the week with my children, due to work, so it was a big let down to see that you close at 2pm on a weekend, when families will use it most.
Cracking timetable, unless you have a job… swim times are a joke.
What a joke the new swimming time table is, closing a 2 pm on weekend. What about families? So much for somewhere for people in the area to go and have some good old family time. (Doncaster) Dome it will continue to be, such a shame.
This needs to open earlier, as people who work nights like to go straight after work then go home… especially the gym…
We live in a modern world, of shift work and demands on families and individuals that creates a demand above and beyond what Wakefield Metropolitan District Council envisage. Especially in our community, where many people either leave the area for work each day and face a long commute or work long and unsociable shifts on the industrial estates and so on within the community.
I am calling on Wakefield Metropolitan District Council to rethink this timetable with urgency, and for our local community councils to join me in this call for fairer opening times for our residents. I have written tonight to leader of Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, Peter Box, along with the Service Director responsible for Culture and Sport and also Chief Executive, Merran McRae, to ask for an immediate revision of this timetable. Will our local Councillors join me in this call?
Dear Council Leader, Chief Executive and Service Director,
I am writing to you on behalf of the community referred to commonly as S.E.S.K.U. who will make use of the new Misnthorpe leisure facility. Whilst i must begin by welcoming the new facility i must taper that with the fact that i (and many in our community) still consider it absurd that the old facility contained a dedicated children’s pool alongside the main pool and the new facility doesn’t, whilst also again questioning the need for substantial gym facilities so close to the existing facilities on offer at Minsthorpe College and Minsthorpe Sports and Fitness (a London 2012 training facility).
But the main point of contention i raise on behalf of my fellow constituents is that the released timetable is frankly absurd. In a modern world where many of our residents work shifts, unsociable hours and/or leave the area for work early each day the fact that no facilities are on offer before 8am is ridiculous. Even worse, we clearly have developed a problem within the community where families and children have no time for fun activities together yet on weekends the pool will close both days at 2pm! This is quite obviously appearing to show that no provision has been made for working individuals or families.
I call on you to direct Wakefield Metropolitan District Council to immediately review this timetable and allow provisions that actually suit the people of the community this facility is supposed to serve. This is a disgrace.