A café-style culture is set to be created in the heart of Pontefract town centre by Wakefield Council.
The Council’s scheme will give hospitality venues on Ropergate more space to expand and allow customers to eat and drink outside. New planters, better street signage and decorative lighting will also create a safe and relaxing atmosphere for people to enjoy throughout the day and well into the evening.
It is part of a wider plan for Pontefract town centre which includes improvements in Horsefair which will re-connect the town centre with the castle and make it easier to walk, cycle and use public transport.
Ropergate will still be fully accessible to traffic, but on-street parking will be removed, with visitors still able to access parking at the nearby Newgate North and Newgate South car parks, where they can benefit from two hours free parking.
There will be funding available for businesses from the Council’s Welcome Back Fund to buy equipment such as tables and chairs and they will be fully supported to apply for licences to allow them to expand outside.
Cllr Matthew Morley, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Highways, said: “This scheme will be a huge boost for local businesses in the area who have told us they are keen for more outside space. The aim is to create a more pleasant atmosphere where people can grab a coffee with friends or enjoy an evening meal and we hope it will increase visitors to the area – giving the local economy a much-needed boost.”
Cllr George Ayre, Wakefield Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Planning and Highways, said: “The plans for Ropergate are part of our vision for the regeneration of Pontefract town centre, creating a place people can be proud to call home.”
It is expected that the £100k scheme will open on 9 March. The road will be closed for three days, from 6 to 8 March, to allow for the improvements to be made. The Council apologies for any inconvenience caused and will aim to complete the work as quickly as possible.
The Council is utilising an Experimental Order to introduce these changes. The Order lasts for a maximum of 18 months and can be ended early if necessary. Officers will review the scheme every six months and residents are able to submit their views, and learn about other work on the Pontefract Masterplan, by visiting https://www.wakefield.gov.uk/regeneration/the-towns/pontefract/ropergate.