‘Cafe culture’ plan abandoned in Pontefract town centre

A plan to create a cafe culture in Pontefract town centre has been abandoned after two months.

By Julie Marshall
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 7:45 am
Updated Thursday, 12th May 2022, 7:47 am
The parked cars are back on Ropergate
The parked cars are back on Ropergate

On-street parking has resumed on Ropergate as Wakefield Council responded to the concerns of local businesses.

Coun Matthew Morley, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for planning and highways, said: “We have listened to the businesses who spoke to us and it is clear that they do not feel the experimental scheme is working for them.”

New planters were temporarily installed along the length of the street at the start of March in a bid to reduce traffic, improve pedestrian safety and introduce some planting and greenery.

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As a result of the scheme the 25 spaces for on-street parking were removed.

After talking to some of the businesses on Ropergate adjustments were proposed to try and accommodate feedback.

Businesses were then given the opportunity to see how the adjustments would work over the next six weeks or end the trial.

The majority of businesses who responded asked for the experimental scheme to end.

Coun Morley added: “The intention was to make Ropergate greener, safer, and more attractive to visitors but we would never want this to have a negative impact on businesses, especially at a time when so many are feeling the impact of the rising cost of living and trying to recover from the pandemic.

“Thank you to all the businesses on Ropergate who have taken the time to talk to us about this.”

"Greening the environment and enhancing Pontefract had all the right intent", said Paul Cartwright, chair of Pontefract Civic Society.

He added: “However, with mixed views on all sides on how the consultation was conducted, it is sad that this trial project has come to an end.

“The aspiration for the town grows with new businesses being set up, and while it seems the car remains king, it will not always be that way.

“Wakefield Council now needs to consult again with businesses on different streets, working with the civic society and Pontefract in Bloom, to ensure that the planters can return to be appreciated by all.”

The council confirmed that the planters will now be relocated elsewhere in Pontefract and Castleford.