Imminent shop arrivals show towns are beginning to boom

Castleford town centre doing really well with vacant shops being taken over. 
Sayed Loonat (owner of Keep in touch), Coun Denise Jeffrey and John Hufton (Business support officer)
Castleford town centre doing really well with vacant shops being taken over. Sayed Loonat (owner of Keep in touch), Coun Denise Jeffrey and John Hufton (Business support officer)

Town-centre business will boom in Pontefract and Castleford, a regeneration boss is hoping following a surge in interest for vacant shop units.

More than 17 retail properties are going through the application process or have re-opened during the past two months in both towns.

The renewed interest includes premises on Albion Street, Carlton Street and Sagar Street in Castleford, while Gillygate in Pontefract is also seeing an upturn.

And if successful new restaurants, a butcher’s shop and a newsagents will soon be open for business.

Councillor Denise Jeffery, the cabinet member for economic growth and skills at Wakefield Council, said: “It has totally transformed Pontefract.

And with Castleford it will take a bit more time but it’s getting there.

“Like all town centres up and down the country we do face some challenges.

“But the district has a strong retail offer with great markets and a variety of different shopping experiences.

“It’s great to work in with businesses to help further improve our great town centres.”

Coun Jeffery says a retail enhancement fund from Wakefield Council is playing a vital part in attracting investment. So far it has attracted more than £1.3m and created more than 74 jobs.

The scheme is available to small and medium size enterprises including start-up businesses.

Meanwhile, the Pontefract Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) is also ploughing more than £1.5m into Gillygate in Pontefract, money courtesy of Wakefield Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The scheme has included repairs to the roofs, windows and guttering and cleaning and restoring the historic terracotta features.