Westgate Station plan “damaging” to the city’s cultural assets -”needs to be right” say Wakefield Civic Society

Westgate station CGI pics
Westgate station CGI pics

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a new £8.1m train station at Westgate will be discussed by a planning committee on Thursday.

An application for the long-awaited new station was submitted in November.

But it was quickly branded “damaging” to the city’s cultural assets after it showed a large wall would block views of the Grade-II listed Orangery gallery, on Back Lane.

Councillors will be asked to consider a range of objections before they make up their minds next week.

Beam director Robert Powell, based at the Orangery, urged the committee to call for changes to the plan.

He said: “I want to be positive because we’re all wanting a new station, but it feels like people have had their arms twisted to accept something that’s sub-standard.

“By blocking off views of the Orangery and access, the proposal is very damaging. With some small changes it could be put right, but the changes we’ve been offered so far have not addressed our concerns.”

English Heritage and Wakefield Civic Society objected on the same grounds.

Society president Kevin Trickett said: “You don’t get the chance to build a new station very often and what we build now will be with us for a very long time so it is important to get it right.

Plans show the new building will cut off previously- proposed access to the Orangery which we find very disappointing. We hope an alternative design might be adopted.”

If approved, the station would be built with ‘in’ and ‘out’ access to and from Mulberry Way.

It will contain more retail facilities, a travel centre, a First Class Lounge, new waiting area and ticket gates.

There be a new footbridge and lifts linking the platforms, but Mr Trickett said the society was also disappointed that escalators were not planned for the station.

East Coast were hoping to start work in January.

An East Coast spokesman said: “We note the consultation comments which have been received.

“Our design accommodates many of the points made during a significant and detailed consultation process. It accommodates interface with other modes of transport, including city buses, cyclists and pedestrians. We will continue to work with the local authority, Metro, other local partners and the people of Wakefield to create this vitally important new gateway to the city.”