Major investment planned for Pontefract Park lake

Wakefield Council is set to spend £1.3m improving a wooded lake that forms part of a popular major visitor attraction.

The Council’s Cabinet will be asked at their meeting next week to approve the investment at Pontefract Park, which is home to the town’s racecourse and new sports centre.

Proposals focus on the lake area and includes specialist work to support the embankment plus footpath repairs to address health and safety issues.

Darren Byford smiling
Cllr Darren Byford

The work is part of the Council’s ongoing investment in the district’s parks and open spaces.

Cllr Darren Byford, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Economic Growth and Property, said: “Over a number of years, the lake embankment has suffered a growing amount of deterioration.

“Residents told us that our country parks, green spaces and parks were important to them, which is Wakefield Council is investing in these areas right across the district.

“Action is needed to keep the area in good condition for the many people who visit every day and to protect it for future generations.”

The total length of the embankment set for repairs comes to about 620 metres.

Paved and tarmacked areas of the public footpath which run up to the water’s edge are earmarked for restoration.

Metal sheet piling along the edges of the lake will be added while a cast concrete top will stabilise the area.

Public safety is paramount, which is why the work is needed and will be timed to ensure minimum disruption.

The work is planned to take place during the off-season for horse racing to avoid the highest footfall months of the year.

It is likely that there will be some disruption or closure of the lake, which would affect angling, as the two seasons do not overlap.

Cllr Byford said: “As the lake crosses public and racecourse thoroughfares, the works plans have to take account of the extensive race event calendar, as well as other events and the angling season.”

The scope of the project will see the restoration of the former boating lake and efforts to encourage and improve biodiversity.

In consultation with the Pontefract Park Anglers Association, anchorage locations for angling platforms and water-based vegetation habitats will be installed.

It will allow the anglers to use the platforms instead of placing their equipment on the footpaths, which might cause an obstruction.

The vegetation habitats would provide additional oxygen for the lake and will encourage further biodiversity.

Cllr Byford added: “Pontefract Park is a significant attraction within the district, and the former boating lake is important within the park as a habitat for wildlife, waterfowl and fish.

“We are taking great strides to encourage and improve biodiversity, helping to boost the Council’s ongoing work to tackle climate change.

“We need to make sure that the many people who enjoy visiting the area can do so safely and for years to come.”

The report will be discussed at Cabinet on Tuesday 14 September from 10.30am at Wakefield Town Hall. The meeting can be watched live or later on the Council’s website.