£6m plan to improve Kirkgate

editorial image

A £6m plan to transform roads and walkways around Kirkgate has been unveiled.

The 1970s subways around Kirkgate roundabout would be filled in as part of the scheme, which follows the £5.6m refurbishment of Kirkgate Railway Station.

Wakefield Council has submitted a funding bid to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to enable the project to get underway.

Plans include landscaping the roundabout and installing new signals to control traffic and help pedestrians and cyclist cross safely, replacing the subways with storm water storage, and opening up the Park Street junction to provide better access for vehicles to and from Kirkgate Station and the surrounding residential area.

The council also hopes to improve conditions for people walking and cycling between the station and the city centre by paving Monk Street and closing the junction with Brunswick Street to traffic.

Council leader, Coun Peter Box, said: “Kirkgate is already undergoing significant regeneration with the major improvements to the train station and the new West Yorkshire Archive building.

“If the funding bid is approved the road scheme will fundamentally transform the way people, in particular pedestrians, can access Kirkgate and we will be taking another major step forward.

“Easier and better access could attract new development and investment, and be a real boost for the community.

“The Wakefield Express campaign for Kirkgate has been an important part of our drive to regenerate the area.They drew attention to the unacceptable issues at both the station and the subway, which reinforced our determination to deliver improvements.

“I would like to thank the Express, local residents and everyone who is playing their part in making Kirkgate a safer, pleasant, more accessible part of our city.”

Cllr Peter Box in the underpass at Kirkgate, Wakefield

Cllr Peter Box in the underpass at Kirkgate, Wakefield

The road scheme forms part of phase one of the Kirkgate Masterplan, to regenerate the area. Phase one also included the two-year renovation of the railway station, which was completed last September, and the building of the new £6.4m West Yorkshire Archive centre, due to open at the end of the year.

The council is also negotiating with the owner of Chantry House to support redevelopment in the area.

If the road bid is successful, work is likely to start on site in the late Summer.