‘Down at heel’ Wakefield needs revival plan as Barnsley prospers – Yorkshire Post Letters
AS a resident of Wakefield for over 40 years, I have become increasingly despondent regarding the appearance and condition of my city centre.
Although the Cathedral is still magnificent, and for many years Wakefield was proud to be the county town of West Yorkshire, today it has a neglected and down-at-heel appearance.
I appreciate that shopping centres such as Wakefield have suffered from retail closures, but some are both surviving and expanding.
A few miles down the A61, Barnsley is experiencing a renaissance, with attractive new buildings and open spaces. It has retained its market, and shopping footfall is increasing.
As recently reported in The Yorkshire Post, Barnsley Council leader Sir Steve Houghton is confident that the town ‘will have one of the most vibrant town centres in the North’. I am sure he will achieve this objective.
So what of Wakefield? The once attractive city centre paving is now falling into disrepair. The once vibrant market is no more, except for a few stalls selling clothes and bric-à-brac adjacent to the Cathedral. Although the evening restaurant culture is thriving, there is little to attract people into the city centre during the day.
Whilst an ambitious masterplan outlines the future of the city, in the light of Wakefield Council’s past record on planning and development, will these proposals ever materialise?
The leader of Wakefield Council, Denise Jeffery, is seeking re-election. I hope she is successful. However, could I please implore her to look carefully at Wakefield city centre, and expend some TLC on this forlorn locale?
Would it be too much to ask to reinstate the market? The additional footfall would undoubtedly benefit local shops and cafes, and help to rejuvenate the area. If Coun Jeffery wants to see how it is done, visit Barnsley.
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