Bridge wins top award

CASTLEFORD'S acclaimed £4.8m footbridge has scooped a prestigious design honour to be hailed one of the top constructions in the country.

The landmark bridge across the River Aire – the ambitious finale of regeneration scheme The Castleford Project – won the special award for partnership category in the national Civic Trust Awards.

This honour recognised the community’s involvement in planning and completing the project.

Wendy Rayner, chairman of Lock Lane Community Group, spearheaded the bridge project as a community champion.

She said: “A lot of people had doubts about the bridge but now it has settled into the environment they are using it to enjoy the river and as a pleasant place in Castleford.

“It has put the town on the map and made a big difference – fishermen are using it with children discovering wildlife as well as visitors coming in.

“We couldn’t be happier with the award.”

The s-shaped bridge connecting Aire Street to Mill Lane was paid for by Wakefield Council, Yorkshire Forward and English Partnerships.

Designed by Renato Benedetti, it has also been shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Award for Better Public Buildings Award.

Council leader Peter Box said: "The profile of Castleford and the district as a whole is on the up.

“The bridge has become an icon – not just in the community but across the country and this prestigious award is further proof of that.

"The country is waking up to what we are all working towards and achieving in our district and I am immensely proud to see the bridge recognised this way."

Television presenter and Civic Trust president Griff Rhys Jones presented prizes at the awards, held to recognise the best new buildings, public spaces and renovations in the country.

More than 400 entries were made, with winning projects chosen for their cultural, social or economic benefit as well as outstanding contribution to the quality and appearance of the environment.

Other winners included St Pancras railway station in London, where the ceremony was held.