TV star at opening of Castleford bridge

CASTLEFORD'S spectacular new multi-millon pound footbridge has finally has got it's grand opening.

TV's Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud joined Wakefield Council leader Peter Box for the opening of the new S-shaped bridge across the River Aire on Friday.

The ambitious structure is the most striking of the Castleford Project schemes to completely revamp the former pit town.

Designed by Renato Benedetti of McDowell+Benedetti, the bridge has already been shortlisted for the prestigious Prime Minister's Award for Better Public Buildings Construction is by Costain.

The Castleford Project is the focus of a major forthcoming Channel 4 series presented by McCloud.

Children from local primary schools linked hands across the bridge to mark its opening.

Wakefield Council Leader, Peter Box: " This is an historic moment for Castleford as we open this wonderful new bridge. It represents the culmination of strong partnership working and an unwavering community commitment to help bring such a project to fruition. I'm also delighted that even before being opened it has been short listed for such a prestigious award. The bridge will be a positive new focus for visitors to Castleford. It will help us attract new interest to the town and open up the potential of the town's riverside area."

Terry Hodgkinson, chair of Yorkshire Forward said: "Promenades are more usually associated with Victorian times in our seaside towns rather than Castleford.

Benefit

"But Renato (Benedetti] has designed not only a river crossing, but a place to wander, to meet and greet and to reflect on the town's past and to vision it's future on a piece of creative modern art that is fit for a 21st Century Castleford. It is there for the benefit of all, to enjoy and savour. Yorkshire Forward is delighted to have been a part of the strong partnership that has delivered this iconic renaissance project."

Alison Drake from Castleford Heritage Trust added: " Since the beginning when we first chose Renato this has been a goal for the community to achieve. It is about connecting the community with the river and river side. The design has fulfilled all our ambitions."