Wakefield Council’s decision-makers are expected to grant approval for £3.5 million worth of transport improvements during their upcoming meeting next week.
Following successful bids, the district is poised to receive £2.8 million in funding from the Department for Transport’s Active Travel Fund, along with an additional £720,000 in funding from Network Rail.
The Active Travel Fund will primarily focus on enhancing pedestrian and cycling infrastructure in the area, making it easier and safer for residents to travel on foot or by bicycle.
A significant portion of the funding, £2.55 million, will be allocated to extending the existing Dando Way. This extension will provide a vital link between Ackworth and Fitzwilliam, specifically designed for cycling and walking purposes. Additionally, part of the existing route in Ackworth will be upgraded, widening the path to accommodate more cyclists and pedestrians. Moreover, improvements to the existing paths surrounding the south side of Fitzwilliam Country Park will facilitate year-round access to the railway station at Fitzwilliam.
The funding received from Network Rail will be utilised to enhance the transportation infrastructure in and around Castleford Train Station.
Councillor Matthew Morley, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Highways, emphasised the significance of the Active Travel funding, stating, “Active travel promotes healthier lifestyles and a healthier environment. Therefore, we aim to make it more convenient for our residents to opt for alternative modes of transportation by enhancing pedestrian and cyclist conditions, as well as improving access to employment and train stations.”
Councillor Michael Graham, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Growth, highlighted the importance of the Network Rail funding, stating, “As part of our regeneration plans for Castleford, it is crucial to reconnect key areas within the town. Facilitating easier, safer, and more pleasant journeys from the train station to the town centre is central to achieving that objective.”
Graham further added, “This improvement initiative will provide a significant boost to local businesses and contribute to the town centre’s economic growth, while also fostering a greener district. The station improvements implemented in 2022 have already had a substantial impact and received positive feedback. It is wonderful to maintain the momentum surrounding the station and its surroundings.”
Another scheme to be completed using £224,171 from the Active Travel Fund will involve upgrading a section of Grandstand Road at Outwood. This project will entail resurfacing and widening a 500-meter stretch of pathway connecting Outwood railway station to the Junction 41 Industrial Park, as well as the installation of a new pedestrian crossing on Lingwell Gate Lane.
The Council’s ambitious regeneration plans for Castleford’s town centre highlight the significance of improving the town’s transportation hubs. Currently, the routes from the train station to the shops, bars, and cafes are disjointed.
The funding will facilitate the addition of lighting and CCTV systems to ensure the safety of residents and visitors while traversing the town. Moreover, the initiative aims to enhance the visual appeal of the area by incorporating vibrant artwork, signage, green spaces, and new seating arrangements.
The decision regarding these proposed improvements will be made during the next Cabinet meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, June 13, at 10:30 am. The meeting will be accessible for live viewing or can be watched later via the Council’s website.