The Towns


The Towns Regeneration Team has a wide remit to help support the development of the Districts various urban centers outside the city. Our aim is to work in partnership with local communities, businesses, developers and voluntary groups to deliver quality regeneration schemes which will inspire and encourage new investment into these towns and the surrounding areas.

The large area covered by the team and the unique needs of each town within it mean we concentrate our projects in a small number of areas at any one time, before moving on to new parts of the district when our aims are achieved.

We're always happy to engage with interested parties about the future of our towns. If you'd like to talk to us about our work or discuss how we might support an idea you have for improving your town, you can find our contact details at the bottom of the page.

Our current efforts are focused in the towns of Castleford, Pontefract and Knottingley with additional support provided to assist projects in Normanton and South Kirby.

Castleford

Aire River Growth Corridor

The Aire River Growth Corridor Masterplan was adopted in 2018 to provide a clear and transparent strategy for future growth along the corridor.

Through collaboration with local land owners and businesses the team will deliver high quality sustainable housing growth and employment in the Aire River Growth Corridor (ARGC) making Castleford an attractive, vibrant and environmentally friendly town where people will choose to live, work, set up business, and spend their free time. We believe this is a positive step for Castleford that will bring much needed homes and jobs to the area and bring back into use industrial sites (called brownfield) that have stood derelict for years.

Towns Fund

Castleford has been selected as one of the 101 towns across England to take part in the application process for the Towns Fund.

The Towns Fund aims to deliver long term economic and productivity growth through skills, connectivity and urban regeneration, with careful consideration of the planning process and land use.

We have created a new taskforce to help set plans and will oversee work associated with the Fund. The Taskforce will produce a Town Investment Plan and inform the Town Deal. More information on the Taskforce and the Town's Fund is available here.

Knottingley & Ferrybridge

The Knottingley Vision to 2029, which also incorporates Ferrybridge, has drawn on extensive public engagement and consultation. By working with a range of local residents, businesses and community groups we have developed a set of ambitions that will revitalise the town. Helping local people to develop new skills while encouraging residential, commercial and economic growth will improve employment opportunities and build on the proud community spirit of the area.

We want Knottingley to be a successful place and a home to successful people and successful businesses.

The Knottingley Action Plan defines a number of short, medium and long term planned projects, to be delivered by several different organisations, which aim to achieve the vision we and the local people of Knottingley want for the future and build on previous successes. Some of the projects include:

  • exploring options to reinvigorate the town centre
  • facilitating work on, and funding applications relating to, the Knottingley Link Road which is key to our efforts in the town
  • initiating plans to improve the Hill Top Leisure Area including refurbishment of Kellingley Club
  • working with local planning colleagues to update policy which will allow new housing and employment development across the south of Knottingley

One of our most important projects is the development of a Masterplan which will identify areas where significant growth can occur and will be crucial in ensuring that the new communities introduced will be connected to and integrated with the existing town. The masterplan will also define where a new consolidated town centre should be and how this can be achieved as well as identifying transport solutions to alleviate the current excessive traffic volumes passing through the area.

Pontefract

Our efforts in Pontefract are driven by the Pontefract Vision to 2028 which provides an overview of our aspirations for the future of the town. It has been produced in collaboration with Wakefield District Housing and Pontefract Civic Society and sees the town as a cultural destination which is well-connected, has a vibrant town centre, sustainable communities and healthy, happy residents.

The Pontefract Action Plan sets out how the Council will deliver this vision through a range of projects over the short, medium and long term. A useful example of the type of project we aim to deliver is the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) which completed in 2019:

Pontefract Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI)

Ending in the autumn of 2018, the THI ran over 7 years offering grants to the owners of historic properties to bring them back to their former glory.

In total £2m was invested to restore 27 buildings, comprising £0.5m of private sector and £1.5m in grants shared 50/50 from Wakefield Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

A wide variety of building were improved. These ranged from grand Georgian period Townhouses and the Robert Adams-designed Red Lion to Victorian terraces.

Grants offered ranged from £15,000 to £290,000. Works undertaken included structural repairs, repairs to roofs, windows, chimneys, brickwork and installing heritage style shop fronts and features. Many projects involved extensive restoration and repair works.

​Buildings on Ropergate, Cornmarket, Beastfair, Market Place, Finkle Street and Gillygate benefited from the grant including the Liquorice Bush, the Red Lion, Ropergate House, 10 Market Place, 1-4 Gillygate and 1-7 Finkle Street.

The improvement works have contributed towards the growth of Pontefract's economy, seeing private investment in buildings not attracting THI funding as well as new employment created in buildings that did. The latter include financial office based jobs, taxi drivers, estate agents, butchers, jewellers, nail studio workers, retail and catering workers.

Overall the uplifted appearance of Pontefract Town Centre has helped drive the continuing excellent occupation rate of retail premises with less than 10% recorded as vacant; a figure well below the national average.

The use of heritage colours on Market Place have enlivened the street creating a vibrant bright appearance appealing to shoppers and visitors. In total 7 properties were improved on Market Place.

​Keep an eye out for the three interpretation panels located in the town centre which celebrate the work of the THI and 

identify the buildings which received grants.

The scheme also commissioned a new family activity - the 'Pontefract Spotters Guide'. The Guide is an architectural treasure hunt around Pontefract Town Centre for children and families. It includes an activity trail with buildings to spot, things to colour in and questions to answer. Copies of the guide are available from Pontefract Museum and Pontefract Castle.




  

Full updates on our progress against the Action Plan are published annually:

In addition, the Pontefract E-Newsletter is produced quarterly and provides the latest updates on action plan progress as we move through the year:

Paper copies of any of the documents linked to this page are available to read in Pontefract Library.

One of our most important projects is the development of a new masterplan which will seek to address the poor quality linkages between Pontefract Town Centre, its surrounding communities and key local assets such as the Castle and the Racecourse. Through the masterplan, the Council hopes to drive bold, visionary and transformational change in Pontefract, safeguarding its heritage and unique offer while making sure that it can meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Normanton

In Normanton, we operate a Normanton Members' Regeneration Steering Group which helps keep the focus on the delivery of key projects in the town.

Our work includes:

  • Ongoing support for the Ashfield housing scheme;
  • Supporting improvements that actively contribute to Normanton town centre (including a cycle link with Smirthwaite);
  • Working with highway colleagues to deliver support for key housing and employment development;
  • Working with the Markets team on a district-wide market improvement project which includes Normanton market; and
  • Supporting delivery of improvements to the railway station car park to promote sustainable travel through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (this follows a project to improve connectivity and signage between the station and the town).
Other Towns

Safeguarding the future of all of our towns is at the heart of the team's activities.

Past work across the wider district has included:

  •  the redevelopment of the Girnhill Lane estate in Featherstone; and

  • support for Strategic Housing colleagues in managing the delivery of the Westfield Lane improvement area masterplan in South Elmsall.

The Westfield Lane masterplan included environmental work in the 'Albanies' (Albany Street, Albany Crescent, Albany Place, Woodlea, Field Crescent) and 'Poplars' (Poplar Terrace, Eric Street, Albion Place) as well as new homes built in Frickley.

Meanwhile, in South Kirby, the Council continues with work to attract appropriate investment to South Kirkby Business Park with the aim of anchoring and then developing its reputation as a prime location for environmental and green technology businesses.

Going forward, we will be working with colleagues on the emerging South East Featherstone Link road and also undertaking a planning exercise to identify additional environmental improvement projects that can be brought forward in other towns across the district.

Contact us

Regeneration Team

Wakefield Council
Wakefield One
PO Box 700
Burton Street
Wakefield
WF1 2EB

01924 306630