£8.1m Westgate Station plan ‘insensitive’ says Orangery director

editorial image

PLANS for a new £8.1m train station at Westgate have been branded “damaging” to the city’s cultural assets.

Beam director Robert Powell said the new station would block views of the Orangery, a grade-II listed building.

Plans just submitted to Wakefield Council show a large wall of the station backing onto the Orangery site on Back Lane.

And Mr Powell said designers had missed an opportunity to promote Wakefield’s culture to visitors of the city.

He said: “We welcome a new station and have tried to work with the developers, but feel these plans are insensitive and seriously damage the heritage value of the Orangery. With a few minor changes we could have created a fantastic gateway for Wakefield, but this just cuts off the Orangery.”

A spokesman for East Coast said: “We are aware of some concerns which the proprietor of this business has, and have consulted fully with him to try to understand the issues raised. We have been able to accommodate some of the concerns raised within the agreed timescales for the development.”

If approved, a new station building will be built with ‘in’ and ‘out’ access to and from Mulberry Way.

It will contain more retail facilities, a travel centre, a First Class Lounge, new waiting area and ticket gates, and East Coast bosses hope to get the work started in January.

There will also be a new footbridge and lifts linking the platforms.

Outside the station there will be a taxi rank, a short-stay car park with a disabled parking bay, and a drop-off point.

The East Coast spokesman said new disability facilities would include step-free access to the station building and platforms, lifts, disabled toilets, a height-adjustable counter at the travel centre and a wheelchair access gate at the ticket barrier.

Train services would remain as normal throughout the construction of the station, and temporary changes to access would be advertised on posters and through station announcements.