Wakefield Council is planning to invest £355 million in services and infrastructure to save our economy - this is where the money will go

Wakefield Council has announced plans to invest £355m into schools, services and big infrastructure projects over the next four years.

Friday, 19th February 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Friday, 19th February 2021, 12:45 pm
The plan covers four years.

The capital and investment strategy covers almost the entire range of services the council provides and includes a investment £48m in schools, £9.8m in town centre development and £24.3m of investment to fund works across the council’s asset portfolio.

‘Assets’ refers to the council’s 1,645-item collection of land and property, including agricultural land, schools, libraries and museums, cemeteries and crematoriums, car parks, allotments, offices, workshops, depots, heritage buildings and storage accommodation.

The proposals are part of plans for economic regeneration across the district, which will become all the more vital as Covid restrictions are lifted.

Cities across the country will take a financial hit as a result of the last year but it is hoped that long-term investment will offer a way back to prosperity.

Coun Denise Jeffery, leader of Wakefield Council, said: “We recognise that as a council we are very well placed to use our budgets in a way that will help to drive significant regeneration and economic growth.

“These resources will also benefit the district by helping to maximising the funds available to deliver our essential services.

“As we continue to recover from the global pandemic by using our financial resources prudently we can invest in priority services, drive change and make a real difference across the district.”

At the next full council meeting, on February 24, councillors will be asked to approve the updated capital programme for 2020/21 through to 2023/24.

The plans include £1.1m allocated to the local area capital grants programme – a fund that supports smaller projects by community groups and individuals.

A long-term planned maintenance programme includes £24.3m of investment to fund work that will ensure that the council’s assets are properly cared for and that their value is maintained.

A total of £10m has been included in the programme to support the council’s commitment to be carbon-neutral by 2030.

The council’s carbon neutral plan received cross party support in 2019, with deputy leader Coun Jack Hemingway adding that the policy would make Wakefield a “better place to live”.

This additional climate investment is on top of the existing commitments around street lighting and electric vehicle charging.

Investment from the programme also includes £48m in schools, £9.8m in town centre development and £4m for Knottingley Community Hub.

Major infrastructure projects totalling £43.4m will include the as the Five Towns Leisure Hub with £11.6m.

Castleford Growth Corridor Scheme will benefit from the scheme with £6.7m, the A650 Newton Bar revamp project will receive £9.4m, and the Glass Houghton Southern Link Road will receive £1.8m.

The Wakefield Waterfront – where Rutland Mills is already earmarked for a revamp – development project also will receive £13.4m.

The proposals have been announced as plans to revamp Ings Road in the city centre have been approved by the council’s cabinet.

Have you looked at the plans in full? What do you think? Has anything been overlooked?

Investment: View looking towards Wakefield city centre, council leader Denise Jeffery, Wakefield’s council chamber and an artist’s impression of the Rutland Mills redevelopment.

‘As we continue to recover from the global pandemic we can invest in priority services, drive change and make a real difference.’