Wakefield Council has taken the decision to pedestrianise Northgate from the Bullring to Cross Square to create an outdoor cafe bar area.
The scheme will began today – Friday, July 9 – and can be continued for up to 18 months.
It is hoped that it will help shape the city for the better in the wake of the pandemic lockdown.
But it was met with fierce opposition from businesses on Northgate who said it would damage their interests.
Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan said it would “kill” the city centre and Mark Woodhead, of Woodhead Investments, called the plan a “disaster”.
Business owners gathered on Northgate last week in opposition to the plan. The council said it would “bring a little bit of cafe culture into the heart of the city centre”.
On Facebook, Express readers shared their opinions on the project.
Shaun Slater said: “We have enough precincts already in the city.
“They would be used more if we got rid of the street drinkers and beggars.
People would feel safer. Northgate and Wood Street are busy roads.”
Sid Middleton said: “Totally agree, it’s worth having a go and at least they are trying to do something.”
Steven Airstone said: “Thirty years ago Wakefield was booming and Leeds was empty.
“Someone had vision and now look. Support Wakefield and things can turn around. There some little gems in town.”
Andy Caines said: “It will make the city centre more tranquil its as simple as that, you only have to look at Leeds who have pedestrianised lots of areas and how popular it has become because of pedestrianisation.”
Lee Smith said: “It would be much better if they did it to Wood Street. Northgate is a main artery into the centre.”
Luke Senior said: “Terrible idea. They need to scrap parking charges in the centre too. Get as many visitors into Wakefield as possible. Put the traffic wardens to some use. Litter picking or something.”
Paul Walton said: “Wrong place for this. It’ll create yet another traffic bottleneck and Wakefield has enough of those as it is. If any of this is to be done, then the pedestrianised bit of lower Westgate and even the Bullring is ideal.”
Mick Carr said: “I personally think it’s a great idea, people talking of trade losing out is rubbish, you can’t park from Cross Street to the Bullring, it’s a through road in effect, people can use Wood Street, 20 yards away.”
Megan Nicholls said: “The place over the road from Westgate Station would be perfect for this. All those empty buildings and love courtyard space.”
Ken Atkinson said: “The general public culture has changed. Leisure and hospitality are big business. The opportunity to bring that to Wakefield can only be achieved by creating safe traffic free areas . Once folk get used to it they will begin to patronise it. Businesses will be created and will succeed. Families will return to the city centre and the whole ambience will change for the better.”
Jennifer Whitworth said: “It’s a great idea they’re closing it to cars who cant stop anywhere there anyway.
“It’s literally driving round to get to car parks or other bits of the city which as stated can easily be achieved by choosing a different route in.”