Wakefield Kirkgate regeneration is underway

Published on by Mike Shields (author)

 (photo: )

The £4.6 million regeneration project to transform one of Wakefield’s most important landmarks, Kirkgate Railway Station has started.

After a mammoth effort from a number of organisations, the redevelopment takes on board the views of the local community, businesses and passengers, following various consultations.

The scheme will include restoring this Grade II listed building to its former glory as well as creating space for a café, ticketing, retail, office space and meeting rooms for the community to use as well as incubation units for small businesses.

Importantly, customers and the local community have been listened to about the need for more car parking and so the station will be landscaped to incorporate 50 additional spaces, a substantial increase of 79%.

The initial works, which are being undertaken by the contractor G F Tomlinson, include closing the station car park whilst the works are underway, to ensure the continued safety of those using the station.

In developing the plans for the scheme the partners have been aware of the potential impact this may have during the construction phase on customers and local residents. To help reduce this, they have been advised of alternative car parks close by within the city.

To minimise the disruption to the local residents, Groundwork has agreed with the main contractor that local street parking will not be used for their vehicles.

Ken Taylor, Executive Director of Groundwork, says: “It is fantastic that we are finally on site, over the next 12 months the works will fly by and we will see the station buildings being brought back in full use, within a wonderful environment”.

“With any building project we appreciate that there will be some disruption which we apologise for in advance, but the end result will be worth it for both customers and local residents. We have been keeping local residents informed and will continue to do so as the work progresses”.

Councillor Denise Jeffery, Deputy Leader of Wakefield Council, says: “I am delighted that work has now started and I am sure the new station, which Wakefield has needed for many years, will make up for temporary disruption inevitable in a project of this size.”

Stuart Lawrence, Managing Director of G F Tomlinson says: “G F Tomlinson Building Limited is delighted to have been entrusted to undertake the sensitive restoration of this important local landmark”.

“We are no strangers to working on high profile sites of historical importance, having successfully delivered many Grade II Listed Buildings where our expertise is combining sensitive restoration with our skills to modernise historical buildings to bring them back into use”.

“We also specialise in working in live occupied environments and the safety of rail customers will be a key priority to us on this scheme”.

Over the last year regeneration charity Groundwork has undertaken a huge fundraising exercise in order to be able to transform the station with the support of its key partners.

These partners have now agreed to fund the scheme and include: Network Rail; Wakefield Council; Metro; Railway Heritage Trust; Grand Central Rail; Northern Rail; Groundwork Wakefield; Garfield Weston Foundation; Headley Trust and Eggborough Power Station.

Additional funding has been secured from the Station Commercial Project Facility and National Stations Improvement Programme, which are administered by Network Rail. Funding from the European Union has been secured as a part of their programme to ‘Invest in your Future, to complete the funding package.

Mr Taylor thanked all the organisations involved to date for their invaluable support.