Action plans will be created to guide future development in Pontefract and Knottingley.
Senior councillors gave the green light to the plans being produced at a Wakefield Council cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
The plans will set out priorities for regeneration in each town and will consider leisure, transport, housing, the environment and business.
Coun Pat Garbutt, cabinet member for adults and health said at the meeting: “Anything that improves our town centres is great for the people of Pontefract and Knottingley.”
But council leader Coun Peter Box said turning a plan into reality “is never easy” and would take time and need private investment.
People have already been asked to give feedback on the Pontefract Vision 2028, set up by the council, Pontefract Civic Society and Wakefield District Housing.
And the authority says responses from businesses and residents will now be used to influence the action plan.
Meanwhile, councillors voted in favour of some immediate action being taken in Knottingley, whilst the town’s plan is drawn up. The measures have been identified to coincide with the demolition of the former Knottingley sports centre, which was closed in a cost-cutting move last February.
Coun Maureen Cummings, cabinet member for environment and communities told the meeting: “I was saddened to see the decline that has happened in Knottingley.”
She added: “The plan will bring huge benefits.”
The immediate actions include investment into the road network, the launch of a new rail service from Knottingley to Wakefield Westgate and Leeds starting in May, the refurbishment of three play areas and the creation of a week-long celebration of culture, heritage and sport in the town.
In the longer term, the authority has also set out plans to contribute £1m to leisure provision, with a new library and gym proposed “in the proximity of the former leisure centre”.
Pontefract, Castleford, Knottingley and Normanton MP Yvette Cooper said: “This is a very important recognition by Wakefield Council of the need for new investment in the town.”