THE city’s MP has summoned the owners of Kirkgate to see the eyesore, demanding they stump up more cash to save a plan to transform what was once branded ‘the worst station in Britain’.
Mary Creagh is to meet with Network Rail to demand it increases its £100,000 contribution to a multi-million pound plan to put staff on the station and make it safe for passengers.
The £4m plan by environmental regeneration charity Groundwork is hanging in the balance because of a funding gap of around £760,000. The meeting with Robin Gisby, director of network operations, will take place in January.
Ms Creagh said: “Network Rail has not put up enough money and it has ultimate responsibility for Kirkgate Railway Station.
“It is trying to do this on the cheap. Myself, Wakefield Council and the Department For Transport want it to put more money in.”
The leader of Wakefield Council, Peter Box, wrote to Network Rail in November warning that legal steps could be taken to force the firm to bring the grade-II listed station up to a safe standard.
Groundwork’s plan was announced earlier this year and if it goes ahead it would transform the notoriously grim station into a transport, business and community hub.
The station would be restored, staff put on the platforms and offices created for Groundwork, other firms, charities and community groups.
So far £1.25m has been secured from rail operators and Metro, including £500,000 from Wakefield Council.
Bids totalling £2m have been submitted to the European Union Development Fund and the Station Commercial Project Facility Fund. But the success is dependent on match funding and the whole project could be derailed if Network Rail does not help plug the cash black hole.
The Express has been fighting for improvements since we launched our Staff Our Station campaign in 2009.