Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Knottingley and Ferrybridge Masterplan given green light

Wakefield councillors have given the go ahead for the Knottingley and Ferrybridge Masterplan for the next 20 years.

Cabinet members have agreed to move forward with a vision to revitalise and diversify the town centre, as well as providing a blue-print for the use of residential and business land.

The Masterplan supports diverse employment opportunities to add to the existing business space offer, so there is diversity and flexible space to attract new businesses to invest in, and relocate to town centres.

Better work opportunities would help tackle in work poverty, help people gain skills, increasing take up of existing programmes for young people and the unemployed. This would increase financial stability and tackle poverty.

The ambitious plans include a major employment site in the south of the town, with plans to create 855,000 sq metres of floor space. The intention is to also make it easier for people to get to the new employment sites by improving accessibility with cycling, walking and new public transport routes.

Cllr Darren Byford, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Skills, said: “It is a great day as we have a tremendously positive plan in place that supports the future of the area and its residents.

“As we continue to plan for the recovery of our district from COVID-19 we want to see all parts of the district thrive and the Masterplan provides a positive focus for future growth and development and improvements to employment opportunities that will support people’s quality of life and communities in the long term.

“The Masterplan is crucial if Knottingley is to secure significant regional investment either through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, or to be in the best possible position to benefit should any new central Government funding initiatives be announced. And we look forward to embracing the opportunities this may bring.”

The Masterplan has identified major infrastructure improvements, which would reduce traffic and congestion in the town.

A new link road would join Pontefract Road and junction 33 of the M62 to the west of Knottingley and a loop south of Knottingley to join the A645 to the east of Knottingley.

This new road would unlock land for new business and housing development. It would reduce traffic including HGV movements and congestion through the town centre and support improvements to Hill Top and pedestrian access.

The intention is to also make it easier for people to get to the new employment sites by improving accessibility with cycling, walking and new public transport routes.

The Masterplan links employment to the creation of housing sites. It also highlights the importance of community hubs like Kellingley Club which can deliver courses to improve local skill and education levels so local people can access local jobs. Overall renovations at the Club will start in early 2021 to develop a Community Hub. The Council is working in partnership with the trustees of the Club to plan the work required.

It will provide support for people in the area to develop their work skills, employability, education and training, with enterprise support, to help local businesses and start-ups. People will also be able to take part in a range of sports activities and health and wellbeing initiatives.

The Masterplan also sets out a range of proposals around green spaces and new park areas as well as a real understanding that facilities like schools and health services need to be provided, and partners are engaged in developing the plan for the future.

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