Plans for new library, rail service and cultural festival for Knottingley as part of regeneration masterplan for town

Knottingley councillors Harry Ellis and Graham Stokes. Picture courtesy of Wakefield Council.
Knottingley councillors Harry Ellis and Graham Stokes. Picture courtesy of Wakefield Council.

A new library, gym, and rail service could be introduced in Knottingley, as part of a plan to regenerate the town.

A week-long festival of culture and sport is also planned for the community, alongside road and retail improvements, all designed to improve the area for the people who live there.

The proposed programme of measures was revealed this week in a report due to be discussed by members of Wakefield Council's cabinet on Tuesday.

The report also asks councillors to consider setting up an action plan for the town to steer future development and set out priorities.

Coun Denise Jefferey, cabinet member for economic growth and regeneration, said: “Regenerating the district is one of our priorities and it is important that we consider all options available to support the district to grow and flourish.

“An action plan would help identify areas for business development and new housing, and suggest new initiatives to boost the town, through working with partners and stakeholders using a joined up and coordinated approach.”

Cabinet members will be asked to approve the creation of an action plan, as well as approving the series of "immediate" measures ahead of the plan being produced.

The immediate actions include supporting businesses to improve the quality and appearance of their units through a £91,000 Retail Enhancement Fund. This is expected to begin this month.

The authority will also continue to support, TJX Europe, the parent company of retail brand TK Maxx, as they expand their Knottingley site, creating around 700 jobs over the next five years.

Other highlights include investing £590,000 into the road network, with works taking place already, the launch of a new rail service from Knottingley via Pontefract to Wakefield Westgate and Leeds, starting in May, and improvements to three play areas for children - Vale Crescent, Acacia Green and Kellingley playground.

The council also plans to work with local policing teams to enhance the CCTV system in the town, and support Kellingley Club to fix damage to its sport pitches.

Other immediate projects it is working on include putting themed vinyls, based on Knottingley's heritage, in empty shop windows, and planning a week-long celebration of culture and sport, expected to take place from May 28 to June 2.

The meeting report states that the celebration will include activity sessions to help people understand more about the town's heritage and encourage physical activity.

In the longer term, the report said the council is also planning to contribute £1m to leisure provision in the area, with a new library, grm, toilets and changing rooms "in the proximity of the former leisure centre", which closed last February.

The authority said it is already working with Wakefield District Housing to help improve homes in the town, as well as developing the proposed Pontefract to Knottingley cycle-way.

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