Multi-million regeneration works at Kirkgate Station are well underway and are due to complete in 2015.
The Grade II Listed building will be restored to its former glory and space for a café, ticketing, retail, offices, meeting rooms for the community to use and incubation units for small businesses will also be created.
Groundwork charity has undertaken a huge fundraising exercise in order to be able to transform the station with the support of its key partners. These partners include Network Rail, Wakefield Council, Metro, Railway Heritage Trust, Grand Central Rail, Northern Rail, Groundwork Wakefield, Garfield Weston Foundation, Headley Trust and Eggborough Power Station. Additional funding was secured for the project from the Station Commercial Project Facility and National Stations Improvement Programme, which are administered by Network Rail. European Regional Development Funding has also been secured to complete the funding package.
Phil Verster, Route Managing Director, for Network Rail said:
“Some years ago we recognised that Kirkgate was a station in need of attention. Already improvements to station platforms and the forecourt are bringing real benefits to passengers’ experience as they travel to and from Wakefield.
“The ambitious project for the station building has taken determination and teamwork between a number of parties to get off the ground. It is testament to all involved that it is now fully funded and work can begin. This transformation will not only restore the building to its previous grandeur but also provide superb facilities from which the whole community can benefit.”
During the project unknown historical issues have been revealed which means the completion date has been edged into next year – rather than the end of this year as originally scheduled. As work has progressed, the restoration programme has uncovered an unexpected and significant infestation of dry rot affecting the walls and timbers along the platform elevation of the building.
Harjinder Sandhu, Corporate Services Director for Groundwork Wakefield said:
“The refurbishment work revealed greater damage then had originally been determined, and as a result it has taking longer to complete the work that we had planned.
“However, thanks to additional funding and support from our partners, work to treat the extensive rot can be completed so that the programme of works can continue, although with opening now delayed until later in 2015.”
The regeneration of Kirkgate Station is an essential part of the redevelopment of the Kirkgate area. Cllr Denise Jeffery, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Skills, said:
“We look forward to the wide-ranging benefits of a regenerated station, not least the huge boost to transport links Wakefield’s, and the subsequent further investment that this key gateway will bring to our city centre next year and into the future.”
Grand Central Rail’s Sean English said:
“We’re delighted Wakefield Kirkgate is being transformed. The refurbishment will improve the experience of hundreds of people who travel to and from London and locally. Passengers will have a more comfortable, convenient and safe journey.”
Richard Allan, Area Director for Northern Rail commented:
“Northern is delighted to be a part of such a unique and transformative project that will deliver not only a superb rail station, but also business and community facilities for Wakefield Kirkgate. This project marks the next phase for this celebrated Victorian building and will be a living testimony to the hard work and enthusiasm dedicated by the partners to make it happen.”