LETTER: Lack of investment by Wakefield Council in Castleford

I would wish to bring to readers’ attention the lack of investment by the Labour-led authority, coupled with Yvette Cooper MP.

I moved to Castleford in 1979 with my wife, due to changing jobs. I stayed in the area moving to Townville and then Knottingley until 2004 and as a regular visitor I have to say very little has actually been done by Labour to improve the area on anything like the scale that Wakefield has received.

Let’s just take a look at Castleford first. Well we got a new market after a lot of grief and a bridge that’s hardly used, but this is a large town and it had a market anyhow, all they did was move it.

How long has Hicksons been closed!? Still looks a tip to me. We are getting a new bus station but I remember the old one being built, so it’s not that old and, in any case, the council are not investing anything in it.

(Question - why do we need a bus station, surely we just need bus stops which are running on time with digital displays in them telling us when the next is due, why do I want to sit around in a bus station, I just want to get to a bus stop and then sit on the bus, plus I cannot find one in York which does have a few buses).

How about Ferrybridge? Nothing spent there at all, so let’s move to Knottingley. Oh we got a supermarket, an investment by Morrisons having knocked down the old GT Smiths supermarket.

Nothing from the council then and they agreed in planning to have no landscaping scheme, so no trees then?

Moving on towards Racca Green we find the glassworks that Ms Cooper recently attended. The area outside looks tidy now, but that was all done by them, again no council initiatives.

You should be getting a picture now? But wait, we are going to have a bigger place to go and swim and paddle, if the council get their way, ah but Castleford, Knottingley and Pontefract will straight away be poorer.

Would the councillors care to suggest we have free buses laid on to ship folk in, but wait, it’s actually smaller than all three combined! This is real investment. Not.

Now we have turned round and headed into Ponte, yep, still got huge queues on Southgate, yep, still nothing like the ideas being put forward by the council many years ago.

Remember them? Wakefield were deemed to be failing as a council, so they hired a big marquee, put it up in Pontefract Park and invited all us merry souls to go along and make suggestions and look at their plans.

We had big trees plonked in the pedestrian areas of Ponte and notices everywhere. Oh yes, the summer of happiness. Then they all took everything down and disappeared back to Wakey.

While still in Ponte I believe the hospital has now bedded in, where are the other 180 beds please? And thanks for the ‘afterthought’ skin dept in a breezeblock hut at the bottom of the car-park - much appreciated that.

Then of course the Trust may now be callng upon the council to buy the owners out of the PFI deal they and other hospitals put themselves in (at the kind suggestion of Labour).

Please note one such NHS Trust is saving £3.5m a year as a consequence. Shame also we now have no charity shops in there, (but then again the centre of Ponte is full of them anyhow), however the gentle waft of bacon butties and coffee now filter around the airport lounge, so while you are sat waiting for a blood test you can at least stuff yourself.

I suppose I could also do an excel spreadsheet of all the missed opportunities that the council has gone out of its way to avoid while waiting, but at least they have thrown up some new and exciting roads for us all to drive on to get round all the houses they want to build without putting new services in.

I look at Wakefield and see all the effort put in there, and I look at the Five Towns and see all the effort not put in there. Thanks Labour.

Mike Jordan

Tour Maker, Le Tour Yorkshire.

Garden Lane

Sherburn in Elmet