One year of Covid: Plans in place to rebuild Pontefract and Castleford after the pandemic

Plans are in place to secure the future of Pontefract and Castleford as coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 4:45 pm
Yvette Cooper, council leader Denise Jeffery, Coun Richard Forster and Lorna Malkin from Queens Mill

Wakefield Council has secured nearly £50m from the government’s Towns Fund, which will be spent on Wakefield city centre and Castleford town centre.

Masterplans are also being drawn up for the district’s towns, which will guide plans and investment for years to come.

Wakefield Council wants to adapt the economy to how life will be after the pandemic.

The ‘Pontefract Masterplan’ aims to improve links between key areas in the town, such as the town centre, castle, racecourse and the new leisure hub at Pontefract Park.

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

Wakefield’s £24.9m is set to be invested in project that include improvements to the Kirkgate area and converting the former Westgate station into a hotel.

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

The task force groups include representatives from the council, local businesses, key stakeholders, the wider communities and local MPs.

Following the Towns Fund announcement in the budget, council leader Denise Jeffery said: “This funding will help us to move forward with our plans, and the investment will also support our economic strategy and support the district’s recovery from Covid-19.”

Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper, who played a key role in Castleford’s bid, said: “We have a real chance for new jobs and business for the future.”

Towns across the country were invited to bid for the grants in 2019.