‘An inviting centre deters crime’

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An anti-social behaviour hotspot is among key areas that Wakefield’s Business Improvement District (BID) will work on.

The lower stretch of the Cathedral precinct, on Kirkgate, is a priority for the group, which is aiming to make the city a better place to live, work and visit.

As members, including West Yorkshire Police and Wakefield Council representatives, walked through the area last week, they commented on reports of crime and anti-social behaviour, street drinking and sexual activity.

And they identified trees, in some cases partially obscuring CCTV cameras, in need of pruning and shop fronts and street furniture they wanted to see spruced up.

Inspector Helen Brear of the Wakefield Central Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “The stretch along Kirkgate and up the precinct is one of our main priorities. The trees need trimming back - we can see the CCTV but it does hamper our visibility - and we just want to help turn that area into a more inviting place.

“Reports on the issues of note are being drawn up and then we will identify potential solutions and work in partnership to address them. If we can start to make a difference, people will be able to see the positive impact.

An inviting city centre deters crime and anti-social behaviour and people start having pride in it.”

BID manager Elizabeth Murphy said the group planned to meet with the council to put together a plan of action for the area. She said: “We aren’t here to put blame on anyone.

“We are here to work together, businesses, the community, police, the council, to make things better.

“This area is one we want to work on and look at improving.”

Bid Members pay an annual membership levy and more than £1.5m will be spent on creating “a more enjoyable, vibrant and economically successful” city centre during the next five years.

The Express is backing BID and its plans for our city centre.

Andy Wallhead, Corporate Director for Regeneration and Economic Growth at Wakefield Council said: “Kirkgate is an important part of the district’s regeneration plans. A £6m project is underway to improve the area for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

“In recent years there have also been major developments with the refurbishment of the train station and the opening of the new West Yorkshire Archive building.

“We are now working constructively with the Wakefield Business Improvement District and Police to identity further improvements in the area in the short and longer term.”