Kirkgate redevelopment cash ready to be unlocked

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The next instalment of cash for the redevelopment of Kirkgate could be unlocked next week.

Wakefield Council’s cabinet will meet on Tuesday to consider accepting a further £500,000 for the scheme.

More than £6m has been earmarked in total by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to see the unpopular pedestrian subways filled in and replaced by a storm water storage tank and new road signals installed to control traffic and help pedestrians cross safely.

Park Street junction will be opened up to improve access for vehicles travelling to and from Kirkgate railway station, while Monk Street will be paved and its junction with Brunswick Street closed to traffic.

The council’s cabinet member for transport, Coun Matthew Morley, said: “The money comes in instalments and we get so much when we get the contractors in.

“It’s fantastic news though, we will finally get rid of those horrible subways because nobody wants them in there anymore.

“It will improve the traffic flow and it will just look a lot better down there.

“It’s a win, win situation for us and it’s positive for the bottom of Kirkgate.

“We have invested in other parts of the city, now it’s time for Kirkgate.”

The report to be considered by the cabinet describes the Kirkgate area of having a ‘very poor-quality physical environment’ with its vacant office blocks and derelict buildings.

It also pays particular attention the subways running underneath the roundabout by stating: “They can be intimidating to the public with youths congregating in the central area of the subway and on land adjacent to vacated properties, and regular ponding occurs within the subways and occasional flooding following periods of heavy rain. The last major flood event was in 2014.”

Coun Matthews said work will begin once the final stage on the eastern relief road is completed in the coming weeks.