'It is exciting that we have an opportunity to make Castleford even better' - Express readers have their say on £23.9 million Towns Fund cash

Express readers have had their say on a £23.9m plan to transform Castleford’s town centre and waterfront.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 1:51 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th March 2021, 1:52 pm
Council leader Denise Jeffery, Coun Richard Forster and Lorna Malkin from Queens Mill, and Yvette Cooper on Millennium Bridge
Council leader Denise Jeffery, Coun Richard Forster and Lorna Malkin from Queens Mill, and Yvette Cooper on Millennium Bridge

The town was one of the successful applicants for the government’s Towns Fund.

Castleford projects that the money could fund include opening up the riverside and introducing residential homes, a new skills and flexible working hub, and public area enhancements.

In the meantime we asked readers what improvements the town needs.

Jayne Hookham said tennis courts near to Savile Park deserved a revamp.

She said: “We have a fabulous bowling green and children’s play area, but what is not so fabulous is the totally neglected tennis courts, small pitch and basketball court.

“It has been such a shame that these facilities weren’t available for use during the pandemic due to their current state.

“People could have used them for outdoor exercise when there were few other options available.”

Welcoming the Towns Fund cash, she added: “I’ve only lived in Castleford for four years but love the town and the people. It is exciting that we have an opportunity to make it even better.”

Regarding improvements to the waterfront, reader Craig Lockwood emailed us and said: “What about a cafe or pub overlooking the River Aire? Or a better path to walk over to the Boat Pub.”

Kevin Pincher said: “I would like to suggest putting a hard path on top of the north river bank from the foot bridge to the canal.

“I live next to the river and there are up to 100 bikers a day using the river bank.

“Unfortunately when the banking is wet the bikes churn up the banking making it very muddy for people to walk on.”

Another reader said the grant should be used to attract more shoppers and visitors to the town centre and said residents did not want further “cramped” housing built in the town centre.

Readers also said the bus station needed some work, shop fronts should be cleaned and repaired, and the town’s indoor market needed a new lease of life.

A task force will now consult with the public and allocate the £23.9 Towns Fund cash over the next 12 months.

Towns across the country were invited to bid for the grants in 2019 and the successful bids were announced in the Budget.

Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper, said ideas that were suggested in the run up to the bid included a community takeover of the Kingdom Hall building on Sagar Street.

Ms Cooper added: “In Castleford we are proud of our history, sense of community and we want a fair deal for the future and for everyone to enjoy the town centre and riverside.”

Coun Denise Jeffery, leader of Wakefield Council, said: “This is fantastic news for Castleford, and will support our plans to bring more people to live and work in the town centre and create vibrant communities.

“This additional funding will enable us to progress our ambitious long terms plans for Castleford, provide a much welcome boost to our local economy and will also support our economic strategy and support the district’s recovery from Covid-19."