Approval given for new homes, medical and education centres

Artists impression of a development in the Aire River Growth Corridor in Castleford.
Artists impression of a development in the Aire River Growth Corridor in Castleford.

Ambitious plans to invest three quarters of a billion pounds in Castleford for homes, industry and retail have been approved.

Plans to build 4,500 homes, as well as new education and medical centres, over a period of 10 to 15 years, can now go ahead.

Space will be made for new shops and leisure facilities under plans named “Aire River Growth Corridor Masterplan Framework”.

The transformation will cover 230 hectares of former industrial land in the north east part of the town along the River Aire.

The goal is “to bring forward high quality sustainable housing growth and employment in the Aire River Growth Corridor to make Castleford an attractive, vibrant and environmentally friendly town where people choose to live, work, set up business and spend their free time”.

Developer Spawforths worked to draw-up the plans with Wakefield Council.

At a meeting of the council’s cabinet, on Tuesday, Spawforths planning director David Kemp said the scheme was designed to “change perceptions” of Castleford.

He said: “This is about making people realise what a great place Castleford is.

“We want people to walk and cycle through Castleford. We envisage that it could be a really bustling centre.

“If we can encourage people to move into the town centre it will help to boost the town centre.”

Portfolio holder for corporate services Coun Les Shaw said: “I was born in Castleford a lot of years ago and I think it’s an excellent development.

“It’s not just for the people in the new houses, it’s for people who already live there.”

Coun Denise Jeffery, portfolio holder for economic growth and a Castleford ward councillor, said: “I think it’s something we’ve wanted to do for a while now and we should just crack on with it as quickly as we can.”

Ahead of the cabinet meeting Coun Jeffery said: “The Castleford Masterplan supports our big ambitions to regeneration the town and to plan for the future.

“This will provide homes for families in the district, help to boost our local economy and create various jobs for people in the area.”

Last month plans were approved for 1,400 homes, a hotel, health centre and leisure facilities on former industrial land next to the River Aire in Castleford, which forms part of the overall scheme.

It includes the land once occupied by the heavy industry chemical works run by Hickson and Welsh, which operated between 1931 and 2005.

In addition, it covers land known as Duck Island, Lock Lane and the former Nestle confectionary site on Wheldon Road, which was closed in 2012 and was demolished two years later.

It is estimated that up to 178 permanent jobs would be created, with 300 construction jobs each year during the decade-long development.