A £24 million grant to improve Castleford town centre and riverside has been approved - this is what we know so far

Castleford has been awarded £23.9 million to invest in its town centre and riverside.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 3:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 11:49 pm
Yvette Cooper, council leader Denise Jeffery, Coun Richard Forster and Lorna Malkin from Queens Mill

A task force will now consult with the public and allocate the Towns Fund cash over the next 12 months.

Towns across the country were invited to bid for the grants in 2019 and the successful bids were announced in last week’s Budget.

Castleford projects the money could fund include opening up the riverside and introducing residential homes, a new skills and flexible working hub, and also public area enhancements.

Aerial view of Castleford

Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper, who played a leading role in the bid, said: “Over the last ten years towns were hit harder than cities.

“We have seen it hit the high street, which has been under even more pressure due to Covid, in jobs going to cities, and in public services cut back. That’s why we have been arguing for a long time and that’s why we worked so hard on the bid.”

She said ideas that were suggested in the run up to the bid included a community takeover of the Kingdom Hall building on Sagar Street, which could be converted into a community hub.

A skills and adult training centre backed by Castleford Tigers was also suggested.

Ms Cooper added: “In Castleford we are proud of our history, sense of community and we want a fair deal for the future and for everyone to enjoy the town centre and riverside.

“We have a real chance for new jobs and business for the future.”

Coun Denise Jeffery, leader of Wakefield Council, said: “This is fantastic news for Castleford, and will support our plans to bring more people to live and work in the town centre and create vibrant communities.

“This additional funding will enable us to progress our ambitious long terms plans of Castleford, provide a much welcome boost to our local economy and will also support our economic strategy and support the district’s recovery from Covid-19.”

The Towns Fund cash will be awarded on top of investment the council has already made and will be making across the district.

That includes, over the next four years, the council’s capital programme of £355m of capital investment in the district to support the district, its residents and local businesses.

That investment will be used to drive regeneration and economic growth, while supporting schools and other essential services that the council provides.

The council has a series of “masterplans” in process, for Wakefield, Pontefract and Knottingley and Ferrybridge.

At the last full council meeting it was announced that masterplans will be extended to include towns across the district, each with an individual plan, which will shape each place, giving residents and businesses opportunities to input ideas into the process.

Wakefield was also awarded £24.9 from the Towns Fund but none of the other towns in the district were chosen by the government.

Both Wakefield and Castleford will now continue to work with their task forces to develop full business cases for each project.

The groups include representatives from the council, local businesses, the wider communities and local MPs.

How should the money be spent?

Wakefield Council and its task force have the next 12 months to make business cases for how the Towns Fund cash for Wakefield and Castleford will be spent.

The groups include representatives from the council, local businesses, the wider communities and local MPs.

There will be official consultation with the public as plans are drawn up.

But we want to hear from you how you think the money should be best spent.

What is the difference this funding could make?

Email [email protected] with your suggestions.

Towns cash: