‘Save our town from neglect’

Members of the Pontefract Town Centre Partnership say they fear the area is in decline.
Members of the Pontefract Town Centre Partnership say they fear the area is in decline.

A community group which fears Pontefract is suffering neglect is calling for action to improve the town.

Members of the Pontefract Town Centre Partnership say the Tanshelf area is in need of regeneration and the town’s road systems need improving to make traffic flow freely.

They are also calling for the introduction of parking concessions, claiming footfall is low and charges are driving shoppers away to out-of-town supermarkets and retail outlets with free car parks.

Secretary Sir Bill O’Brien said: “Life is slowly being taken away from the town centre and Wakefield Council appear to have no plans to treat this cancerous diagnosis.”

Sir Bill said the group had been pressing the local authority to make a town centre plan, setting out a vision to stimulate growth and promote the area, available to them.

He said: “We are concerned that the planning provision for Pontefract is not going forward and this could have a massive impact on our town. We feel we are being neglected.”

Coun David Jones, the council’s deputy cabinet member for economic growth and skills, said the authority was investing in the town with projects including regenerating the former Prince of Wales colliery and the development of the £4.1m Northern Link Road.

He said it also planned to turn Tanshelf into a “gateway” to the town and last month formally adopted a Retail and Town Centre Plan and a Leisure, Recreation and Open Space Plan for the area.

Coun Jones said: “We are extremely disappointed that the partnership seems intent on putting the town down, and we do not accept what they are saying.”