Millions more will be spent in Pontefract next year

Millions of pounds have been spent in Pontefract over the past three years with plenty more still to come.

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 4:06 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 4:08 pm
Paul Cartwright, chairman of Pontefract Heritage Trust
Paul Cartwright, chairman of Pontefract Heritage Trust

More than 30 restoration projects have been carried out already by Wakefield Council and other public sector partners at a total cost of £27million as part of the Pontefract Action Plan, first revealed in 2018.

A progress report has just been published with details of how further improvements to the local environment and economy will secure ‘a bright, sustainable future for Pontefract’.

Coun Darren Byford, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for economic growth, regeneration and property, said: “We are really proud of what has been achieved over the last three years in Pontefract and this investment in the town is so important for future generations.”

Projects already delivered include the opening of the new [email protected] leisure centre, improvements to the outdoor market, and lots of other preparatory work for improvements in the town.

Wakefield Council is planning another £7million investment over the next two years as other projects continue. The first scheme to kick off is likely to be the £2milion ‘Streets for People’ on Horsefair -the road which links Pontefract’s historic town centre with the castle.

The initial design for this project recently won a National Planning Award for Fostering a Healthy High Street.

Coun Byford said: “It will improve the area, making it attractive for pedestrians and cyclists while reducing car movement down there.

“It will make it a more greener and pleasant space and improve air quality.”

He said work is due to start in the spring and would take approximately 12 months to complete.

He added: “All projects will depend on funding streams coming in so we are going to start the ones where we have got the funding.

“The next project will be around Ropergate which will again create more space for pedestrians and also allow the businesses to spill out onto the pavement.

“It’s a beautiful street, let’s make it a destination.”

He said this project was going to start late spring 2022 and was part of the council’s response to the government’s Build Back Better programme.

Other upcoming work, which will again involve partners, includes investment to repair the lake in Pontefract Park, as well as improvements to the indoor market and Monkhill rail station plus a host of smaller projects.

These include such as securing a coach drop-off point to support efforts to promote tourism and working with the Mid-Yorkshire NHS Trust to secure the future of the former dispensary building and underground Hermitage.

Coun Byford added: “There are lots of exciting projects still underway and we will continue to work closely with our strategic partners, businesses and community groups in all aspects of the work we are doing in Pontefract so we can realise the benefits we have set out to deliver in the future.”

Paul Cartwright, chairman of Pontefract Civic Society, said: “The Civic Society helped create the Pontefract Action Plan and we’re proud of the progress made and achievements gained in the last three years.

“The Action Plan draws together a range of activities, from big projects like the new leisure hub to smaller scale events like the ‘Light Up’ before Christmas which have potential for expansion.

“Consultation for an enhanced Horsefair alongside the creation of the Masterplan has set the tone and ambition for the future, underlining the potential that our historic town has.

“We will continue to work hard alongside the council and partners to make sure that potential is realised so that the aspirations of our residents can be achieved.”

The Pontefract Action Plan 2021 Update can be read online or downloaded at www.wakefield.gov.uk/ponteplan