Blog | Westgate Station

Wakefield Civic Society

an organisation dedicated to making Wakefield a better place in which to live, work or relax.

Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield

Westgate Station

Posted on 8 January 2013 by

Following consultations with Network Rail and East Coast Mainline, the Society expressed
its concern about the impact the new station building will have on the setting of the Orangery, a Grade II* listed building. Although some modifications have been made to the design in the plans submitted to the Council, the Society says that the changes made are not sufficient to protect the setting of the Georgian Orangery - the new building will be too close and too large with the result that it will dominate the Orangery and overshadow it.

Society president Kevin Trickett said “The Society is very keen for the new station project to go ahead but it is important that we get it right. 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: the station we have today dates back to 1867 but the building on platform one was replaced with the current building in 1967. Forty-six years later, we are discussing plans for another station building, so what is built now will have a major ongoing effect on the Orangery and the
whole of Westgate.”

He continued “In the Council’s original master plan for the Westgate area, the drawings for the new station show a building with a footprint that would be stepped back from the Orangery and this would allow direct access from the station forecourt to a number of Georgian properties - the Orangery and its gardens, Westgate Chapel and Pemberton House, as well as to a new hotel and park proposed for the site of the existing station building. However, the plans that have been submitted show the new station building will abut the boundary of the Orangery grounds and cut off this proposed access, which we find very disappointing. There is an opportunity here to create something really special for the city that would actually enhance the setting of the adjacent Georgian properties while also retaining a direct link with Westgate through the new “pocket park” that is to be established. We have seen alternative suggestions for the station that would provide the same facilities that Network Rail have proposed but would step the station building back away from the Orangery and we hope that the alternative design might yet be adopted instead. We believe, despite what Network Rail have said, that there is time to do this without
jeopardising the project. It is too important not to take the time to get it right.”

The Society is also disappointed that the opportunity is not being taken to provide escalators for the new footbridge which will be incorporated into the design. Although lifts will be provided, the Society considers there is a need for escalators as well. Kevin Trickett explained “Westgate Station is a busy railway station on the East Coast main line and the trend seems to be for yet more people to use the station in the future. Although the provision of lifts will be an enormous help for the elderly and the disabled as well as for people with heavy luggage and pushchairs, they have limited capacity which can lead to queues at peak times. Many people would prefer to use escalators if they were available –
just look at how many people use the escalators in Trinity Walk and the Ridings Centre!”