Monorail in Wakefield city centre: Council leader Denise Jeffery unsure if MP Imran Ahmad Khan's idea is 'realistic'

The leader of Wakefield Council has said she's unsure the prospect of a monorail spanning the width of the city centre is realistic.

Mr Khan believes a monorail, which he suggests could be built between Westgate and Kirkgate, could transform Wakefield and give it a new identity.

The city's Conservative MP, Imran Ahmad Khan, has touted the idea, alongside a new conference centre the "size of a small town" in Wakefield.

Mr Khan says the monorail, which he suggests would run between Westgate and Kirkgate, would allow the area to "brand ourselves as the crossroads of the kingdom".

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The district's Labour council leader, Denise Jeffery, said on Wednesday that Mr Khan had approached her about the idea before it was publicised, but that she believes the scheme would be expensive and complicated.

Coun Jeffery said the local authority was planning more "modest" infrastructure schemes.

However, she added that she would not turn down any additional government funding to improve local infrastructure.

Asked about the idea on a live Q&A session on Facebook on Wednesday, Coun Jeffery said: "Some of the plans the council have are more modest, and perhaps a bit more realistic.

"Imran asked me to go with him to meet Boris Johnson to put the plan forward, which is a monorail from Kirkgate to Westgate, to demolish property in Wakefield and build a conference centre.

"It will cost nearly £1billion. I'm not sure it's realistic."

Mr Khan was elected as Wakefield's MP in 2019.

The council said it is looking at the feasibility of a conference centre in Wakefield and whether it would offer value for money, and would feed its findings back to the MP.

Coun Jeffery added: "What I said to Imran was, "Put your plans forward to Boris Johnson and let's see what happens."

"But in the meantime, we're going forward with more modest schemes that I feel are realistic.

"On the other hand, if there is funding for Wakefield, I'll take whatever's going."

Local Democracy Reporting Service