A £5.4m programme of improvements at Wakefield Kirkgate Rail Station was unveiled today (Monday 14 September).
As well as providing much improved facilities for passengers, the upgraded station is seen as a catalyst for Wakefield Council’s regeneration of the city’s entire Kirkgate area. Key to it will be the lynchpin of plans to create an accessible city centre quarter with good links to the heart of the retail area, the Waterfront and the Hepworth Wakefield.
The two-year restoration of the Grade II listed station has been led by environmental charity, Groundwork with funding from West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Wakefield Council, Department for Transport, Network Rail, Northern Rail, Railway Heritage Trust, Grand Central, The Headley Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation and the European Regional Development Fund.
The project has restored the building to its former glory and created a café, retail, offices, meeting rooms for the local business community and incubation units for start-up businesses.
Cllr Peter Box said: ”Wakefield Council has worked alongside our partners over the last few years to ensure that Kirkgate Station is a gateway to the city centre that the people of Wakefield deserve and can be proud of.
“Good transport links are key to underpinning WYCA’s aims to create the right environment for business to grow, and this is the second project like this in the district, following the new Castleford Bus Station which opened in February.
“Kirkgate provides an impressive gateway to this part of the city. The new look station not only provides a much improved experience for rail users but is a crucial element of the area’s regeneration. I am confident that this will boost the investment and economic potential in Kirkgate and help further revitalise this area of the city.”
Peter Cooper, Deputy Chair of Groundwork Wakefield said, “We’re very proud to have spearheaded this major investment project, along with 10 partners and funders. Sheer determination and commitment has been needed to restore this Wakefield gem and give residents a station they can be proud of.”
Andrew Jones MP said: "The transformation of Wakefield Kirkgate will unlock huge benefits for passengers, the local economy, and the wider regeneration of the Kirkgate area. Investing in schemes like this has a vital role to play in creating a Northern Powerhouse, and follows our earlier £6 million investment in the new station at Wakefield Westgate – giving this city 2 excellent gateways."