Council awaits funding approval for £6m Kirkgate masterplan

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Council plans for a £6m scheme to transform roads and walkways around the city centre could be given the first stamp of approval.

The 1970s subways around Kirkgate roundabout would be filled in as part of the scheme, which comes after the multi-million pound revamp of Kirkgate Railway Station.

Wakefield Council submitted a bid earlier this year to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) to fund the project.

And the WYCA is considering the plans at its annual meeting this week.

Coun Peter Box, leader of Wakefield Council, said: “I am confident that these plans will gain approval so that work can start next year on the redevelopment of the road layout around the Kirkgate area.

“This is the next step in our regeneration plans for the city, which will help improve transport links and encourage further investment into the area.”

A report, prepared ahead of the meeting, recommended the plans to go ahead through the first phase of a three-stage approval process, known as gateways.

The first gateway would free up £152,000 worth up funding to draw up the next set of plans for the scheme.

The report said officers recommended “that the Authority approves the progression of Wakefield City Centre through Gateway 1 approval for £152,000 and allow it to progress to Gateway 3.”

Council plans for the scheme include landscaping the roundabout at Kirkgate and installing new signals to control traffic. It also aims to use it to help pedestrians and cyclists cross safely, replacing the subways with storm water storage and open up the Park Street junction to provide better access for vehicles to and from Kirkgate Station.

The council also hopes to improve conditions for commuters between the station and city centre by paving Monk Street and closing the junction with Brunswick Street to traffic. The road scheme forms part of phase one of the Kirkgate Masterplan, to regenerate the area.

Phase one also included the two-year renovation of the railway station, which was completed last September, and the building of the new £6.4m West Yorkshire Archive centre, due to open at the end of the year.

The cash used to fund the project would be handed out by the WYCA from its government-powered £1bn West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund.