Wakefield Westgate station mural causes controversy

The new Wakefield Westgate station was officially opened last year.
The new Wakefield Westgate station was officially opened last year.

A new mural at Wakefield Westgate station has caused a few raised eyebrows in recent weeks.

The controversial mural, commissioned by London North East Rail, depicts the London Skyline, and features landmarks including the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge and the London Eye.

In recent weeks, commuters have begun to voice distaste for the mural, with many suggesting that it should instead be themed around Wakefield.

Hazel Birdsall spent more than a decade working to promote Wakefield to potential visitors and feels that it is a missed opportunity to promote local talent.

She said: “It’s a great piece of artwork, there’s obviously an artist who’s put heart and soul into that. But as a commuter and someone who worked in the city promoting the city for a long time, it seems a little strange we haven’t dipped into the talent of one of the fantastic artwork organisations locally.

“It’s a missed opportunity to promote local attractions. I lived in the city for years, I loved all of the good bits and the bad bits of it. It would be great to see something that represents the city rather than the capital.”

The mural at Wakefield Westgate has caused some controversy.

The mural at Wakefield Westgate has caused some controversy.

Richard Saward said: “It’s a nice enough mural but it doesn’t celebrate Wakefield. The train goes to all sorts of placed other than London, there isn’t a mural for York or for Sheffield.

“Maybe some kind of map would work, to show people where they are and points of interest and even if it’s not somewhere that people might necessarily go.”

He suggested that a local mural featuring The Hepworth art museum, Wakefield Cathedral or the Yorkshire Sculpture Park would be more relevant.

A spokesperson for London North East Rail confirmed that the mural was only the first step in the station’s regeneration.

They said: “I’m very happy that customers are already noticing the mural but they’re a bit quick off the mark in this instance.

“The mural does indeed focus on London as this is the main destination that our customers can travel to from Wakefield. However it is by no means the last change we’re making at the station.

“In the next few weeks, the opposite wall will be transformed into a ‘Welcome to Wakefield’ wall featuring images of local landmarks, encouraging visitors to explore the region. We’re currently discussing with the station staff about what should be featured on the wall.”