Northgate temporarily closes to support city centre reopening
Wakefield Council is working to support businesses to reopen and welcome people safely back into the city centre, by creating a temporary pedestrian area on Northgate to enable hospitality businesses to create a café culture.
As part of these innovative plans, the Council is to temporarily close a section of Northgate to help local businesses to thrive and to support people to get around the city centre safely and in line with Government advice and guidance.
From Friday 10 July, Northgate will be closed to traffic from Cross Street to the Bull Ring, with the exception of emergency vehicles and those needing access to the carpark at Woodhead Place.
Cllr Darren Byford, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Growth, said: “These are really exciting plans to bring a little bit of café culture into the heart of the city centre. We hope this will provide a big boost to local businesses, by being able to expand their offer safely, in this new and exciting way.
“As more and more businesses are beginning to reopen, I’m pleased we’ve been able to act quickly to support them. The changes will transform this area of the city into a vibrant outdoor space which everyone can enjoy. And I encourage residents to please shop, eat and drink locally, and come and see what is on offer.”
The road is being temporarily closed to help pedestrians and local businesses to move around safely and follow social distancing guidance. The Council will continue to regularly review the closure and monitor its impact and will make changes to the road closure if necessary.
The Council is also considering longer term measures, including pedestrianising other parts of the city centre including Westgate.
Cllr Matthew Morley, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Highways, said: “To welcome people safely back into the city we are looking at the different ways we can make experimental and temporary use of our space. This section of Northgate is ideal for local businesses to expand outside so people can safely visit, eat and drink, whilst being able to responsibly social distance.
“We’ll be making the street a vibrant place to visit, with a variety of outdoor plants, lots of seating and open space.
“We are continuing to carry out thorough traffic, pedestrian and parking surveys and will continue to do so throughout the closure. It’ll be regularly reviewed and changes will be made if needed.”
Diversions will be clearly signposted and new attractive planters and street furniture will be used to clearly close off the road alongside new road signs.
The Council will also remove on street parking on the length of Northgate, from the Cross Street to Rishworth Street junctions, to widen the footways for pedestrians to pass and separate cyclists safely.
The closure can be in place for a maximum of 18 months before it will either be made permanent, or withdrawn, depending on the success. It has been paid for through Government funding for the reopening of high streets.
The Council has provided information and guidance on its dedicated coronavirus information web page at bit.ly/CoronaWFD