Kirkgate Station ‘at risk’ warning

Partly refurbished Kirkgate Station
Partly refurbished Kirkgate Station

KIRKGATE railway station is at risk of being demolished or falling into further disrepair, a report has warned.

The run-down grade-II listed station has been placed on a new ‘at risk’ register by the Yorkshire and Humber Association of Civic Societies (YHACS).

And an historic watermill near to the Hepworth gallery has also been named on the list which was compiled by civic societies across the county.

Kevin Trickett, the chairman of both Wakefield Civic Society and YHACS, has called for urgent action.

He said: “We have been waiting a long time for something to happen at Kirkgate Station but the longer it goes on the greater the risk becomes.

“It’s important that we keep the station because it is a link with Wakefield’s past and heritage.”

In 2009 the Express launched its Staff Our Station campaign to force rail bosses to invest in improvements at Kirkgate.

More than 3,000 readers backed the campaign which was also supported by the then prime minister Gordon Brown and transport secretary Lord Adonis.

A partnership which included station owners, Network Rail, station managers Northern Rail, Wakefield Council and transport group Metro, invested thousands to refurbish a listed canopy, remove the crumbling spine wall and install CCTV.

Mr Trickett said: “Although Network Rail and other partners have invested money in the station recently, it’s still a concern and will remain so until we see it being brought back into use or some other business venture.”

He also welcome action by Wakefield Council to erect a protective cladding around the grade-II listed watermill, which lies in the heart of the Waterfront Conservation Area.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “Work on the roof and lobby at Kirkgate station has already been completed and we continue to work with local partners to seek tenants for the station building to secure its long term future.”