The transformation of Wakefield Kirkgate station is a significant step closer after Network Rail successfully secured more than £1.5m of new industry funding.
Ambitious plans to transform the listed station building have been drawn up by Groundwork Wakefield with support from Network Rail, Northern Rail, West Yorkshire PTE (Metro), Wakefield council and Railway Heritage Trust. It is this scheme which has been awarded £1.039m from the Station Commercial Project Facility fund (SCPF). This funding has been supplemented by £0.5m directly from Network Rail.
Phil Verster, route managing director at Network Rail, said: “This is excellent news for Wakefield. Kirkgate is a station in need of improvement and we have already completed improvements to CCTV, subway and entrance lobby with more work scheduled this year on the canopies and to remove the spine wall.
“However the listed station buildings have been empty for many years and are in need of attention. Today’s funding announcement is the result of many months hard work by the rail partners to find a solution which benefits both passengers and the community. We will continue to work with all of the partners to support the scheme.”
Speaking about the SCPF, rail minister Norman Baker MP added: “The work at Kirkgate is much overdue and I’m pleased that the rail industry has come together and made this project a reality. Better and more attractive stations are vital if we are to encourage more people to travel by rail and I’m sure this will be warmly welcomed by local people.”
Ken Taylor, executive director for Groundwork Wakefield, said: “The funding confirmation is excellent news for all those involved so far in the redevelopment of the Station. Groundwork, along with partners, is committed to bringing the station back to its former glory and it will be a catalyst for the regeneration of the entire Kirkgate area.”
“Not only will the redevelopment provide a safe and welcoming gateway to the city, it will provide facilities for local communities, enterprises to grow in and foster a sense of community pride into the area.”
Drew Haley, client and stakeholder manager for Northern Rail, comments: “The confirmation of this latest funding is fantastic news for our customers through Wakefield Kirkgate, and is a great example of a successful partnership between all those involved in the regeneration of this station.”
“Metro welcomes this funding, complementing the £250,000 we have committed to the scheme,” added Metro chairman Cllr James Lewis. “We are working with Wakefield Council to make the station and surrounding environment much better for passengers as it becomes a more important gateway to the City Centre and the Hepworth Gallery.”