Plans to develop and shape future regeneration in Castleford are set to be approved at the next meeting of Cabinet members.
The ambitious plan, known as the ‘Strategic Regeneration Framework (SRF), is a guide to how Castleford town centre could be transformed over the next 10 to 20 years, to bring improvements that could benefit residents, businesses and visitors.
To achieve a sustainable and successful future for Castleford, the SRF aims to create an environment that will see local businesses thrive and make Castleford a destination, by building on the town’s unique heritage and one of its best assets, the River Aire.
The SRF highlights the need to address the problem of empty properties and the challenges of transport links both within the town centre and the wider area.
There are two distinct phases, short-term and long-term.
The short-term phase will largely be delivered through the government’s Town Deal funding. Wakefield Council received nearly £24 million (£23.9m) which will mainly be invested in the Riverside, Boho and Heart of Castleford proposals:
Castleford Riverside – creating access to the river with improvements to public spaces and investment in Queen’s Mill.
Castleford Boho – enhancements to Sagar Street as the key link between the riverside and town centre, including the delivery of a work and skills hub, revitalising of Kingdom Hall for community and enterprise uses, and improvements to public spaces including the existing shop fronts.
Heart of Castleford – this proposal aims to make Henry Moore Square the heart of the town, delivering a meeting place, events space and consolidated home for the markets in what is seen as one of Yorkshire’s premier public spaces while introducing a new multi-purpose building.
Back in May, the first stage of the Town Deal programme – a shop front improvement scheme with grants of up to £12,000 – opened for eligible businesses in Sagar Street.
Future developments will rely on finding further funding opportunities, identified by the Council or in collaboration with private or non-profit organisations.
A key consideration will be sustainability, to ensure they are long-lasting for future generations.
The blueprint has the approval of residents, businesses, councillors, and other stakeholders, who had their say, during a series of engagement events that have taken place since 2020.
Councillor Darren Byford, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Economic Growth and Property, said: “These are exciting plans that will provide the town with more than just a physical makeover. It will deliver a prosperous Castleford where people and businesses succeed and visitors are welcome.”
“The proposals outlined will lay the foundation to ensure that the town, the people who live, work and own businesses there can go from strength to strength.”
Cabinet meets on Tuesday 11 October at 10.30am.