Cash to repair eroding banks at Pontefract Park expected to be approved by Wakefield Council next week

The disintegrating waterside at one of the district's most popular beauty spots is set to be renovated.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 9:35 am
Updated Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 9:36 am

The banks around Pontefract Park's lake have been eroding for several years and the public is currently banned from accessing parts of the perimeter for health and safety reasons.

Now, local council chiefs are set to sign off around £1.3m worth of funding for major repairs to the embankment and the footpaths which encircle the lake.

The Friends of Pontefract Park welcomed the news.

The park's lake is expected to get some investment next week.

The group's vice-chairman, Colin White, said: "The condition of the lakeside has deteriorated over the last few years.

"The Friends group has certainly been very keen for the area to be renovated. It's an important element of the park."

Local anglers who use the lake have also been consulted about the plans, which if approved will see anchorage facilities installed.

Platforms will be set up to help anglers leave footpath space open to walkers, while vegetation habitats for the water's wildlife will also be created.

The water makes for a popular beauty spot.

However, Wakefield Council has said that the extensive work needed to carry out the repairs may result in the need to close the lake for a period of time, during the angling season.

That's stemmed from a desire not to carry out the work during the horse racing season, so as not to affect dates at the adjacent Pontefract Racecourse.

Councillor Darren Byford, Cabinet member for regeneration, said: "As the lake crosses public and racecourse thoroughfares, the works plans have to take account of the extensive race event calendar, as well as other events and the angling season.

He added: "Pontefract Park is a significant attraction within the district, and the former boating lake is important within the park as a habitat for wildlife, waterfowl and fish.

Local anglers, pictured here earlier this year, have been consulted about the plans.

“We need to make sure that the many people who enjoy visiting the area can do so safely and for years to come.”

Labour councillor David Jones, who represents the Pontefract South ward, said news of the investment to cover the costs of the work was "very welcome".

"This demonstrates our council's commitment to ensure that a much loved lake is protected and improved for visitors and anglers for many years to come," he added.

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If the funding's approved, the council have said they will do the work outside the racing season, so as not to disrupt dates at the adjacent Pontefract Racecourse.