Have your say on £13.6m plans to transform travel in and around Wakefield city centre

Wakefield Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority have launched a consultation on £13.6m plans to transform travel in and around Wakefield city centre.

People are being asked to share their views on ideas to make it easier to move around the city on foot, bike and by public transport.

The Council and the Combined Authority have secured up to £13.6m in Government funding to better connect people with places in and near the city centre, including shops, workplaces and education facilities.

The aim is to boost the city centre by increasing footfall to benefit the tourism, retail and hospitality sectors and increase employment prospects; as well as tackling congestion and improving air quality.

Ideas include the potential for a new cycle lane connecting Westgate and Kirkgate railways stations, with links to employment and education hubs, and to enhance bus journeys, as part of the scheme is to encourage greater use of public transport.

Cllr Matthew Morley, Cabinet Member for Planning and Highways at Wakefield Council, said: “This investment provides us with great opportunities to improve public transport and to enhance cycling and walking routes in and around our city centre.

“We’re in the early stages of considering different proposals and this is why we need people to take part in the consultation, to share their views and help shape the project.

“Investment in sustainable transport brings a range of benefits such as improved access to communities, which supports jobs and employment; and helps to contribute towards the Council’s commitment to tackle climate change.”

The Transforming Cities Fund proposals for the Wakefield district also include plans to improve bus travel and create better facilities for those walking and cycling along both the A61 and A639.  Consultation on these proposals will take place later in the year.

Cllr Morley added: “By supporting cycling and walking initiatives this is part of our commitment to make the air cleaner and to reduce carbon emissions.”

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said: “We’re pleased to be working in partnership with Wakefield Council on this important scheme, which will make it easier for people to move around our region, and I would encourage everyone to make the most of this opportunity to shape the plans for the city centre.  “In these challenging times, it is more important than ever that we continue to invest in a modern, accessible transport network, which supports economic growth by connecting more people with job, training and education opportunities.

“Our region deserves a transport system which fills people with pride, with optimism and, above all, with the confidence that we have a clear direction of travel towards future prosperity for all, while helping us achieve our aim of becoming a net zero carbon economy by 2038.”

The scheme is being delivered through the Leeds City Region Transforming Cities Fund programme, which is aimed at providing a viable alternative to car journeys. 

The consultation runs until 28 March 2021 and the Council is inviting everyone, particularly city centre retail, tourism and hospitality companies, bus and rail companies, residents and cycling, sustainable transport and conservation groups to have their say in order to influence the future development of the city centre.

To take part visit www.yourvoice.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/wakefield-city-centre

A further more detailed consultation is planned for later in the year, following feedback from this consultation.