Rutland Mills could be transformed into a hotel, restaurants and studios

Artists impression of central courtyard space at the heart of Rutland Mills. Credit Hawkins\Brown working with City and Provincial Properties PLC
Artists impression of central courtyard space at the heart of Rutland Mills. Credit Hawkins\Brown working with City and Provincial Properties PLC

Derelict mills dating back to the 1800s could be transformed into a hotel, restaurants and creative music and arts studios, as part of a multi-million pound waterfront regeneration project.

Wakefield Council has agreed the sale of the Rutland Mills site, in the city centre, to developer City & Provincial Properties PLC.

Artists Impression of Rutland Mills in context showing the ground floor. Credit Hawkins\Brown working with City and Provincial Properties PLC

Artists Impression of Rutland Mills in context showing the ground floor. Credit Hawkins\Brown working with City and Provincial Properties PLC

And director Paul Kempe plans to transform the mills into the creative centre of the North.

His initial ideas include the creation of music, textiles, and art and design studios, a small boutique hotel, offices, an events space and a courtyard with bars and restaurants.

Mr Kempe said: “I think there’s huge creative talent in the North of England but a lot of people feel obliged to go down to London. These facilities here could accommodate that talent and keep it in the north, in Wakefield.”

He added: “I hope that this will have a positive effect on both the immediate area and also The Hepworth.

Artists impression of the approach to Rutland Mills from Bridge Street.
 Credit -  Hawkins\Brown working with City and Provincial Properties PLC

Artists impression of the approach to Rutland Mills from Bridge Street. Credit - Hawkins\Brown working with City and Provincial Properties PLC

“If we can create more interest in this site and this area, we will have more people who want to visit and enjoy it.”

The redevelopment could create up to 1,000 jobs and attract existing and start-up businesses.

Joanne Roney, chief executive of Wakefield Council, said: “To get a great investor like this is a big achievement for Wakefield and will finish off our vision for the waterfront development. I am excited now what it will do to the vibrancy of this site and of the district, excited for how it will add to the sustainability of The Hepworth and excited for the 1,000 jobs it will create in small businesses and new technologies and industries.”

The development of the 100,000 sq ft site will mark the final phase of the Wakefield Waterfront Masterplan, which aims to transform the area over a fifteen year period.

Phase one involved the creation of new office and work space and affordable homes. And phase two saw the building of The Hepworth Wakefield art gallery, which opened in 2011.

David Liddiment, chair of The Hepworth, said: “The development is great news for Wakefield. When The Hepworth was built the idea was that this whole riverside would be animated with leisure activities and it is starting to happen.

“The riverside is going to be buzzing with things to bring people to this side of Wakefield.”

Wakefield Council leader Coun Peter Box added: “We hope to attract other firms and developers to ensure the whole of the Kirkgate end of the city continues to be transformed.

“I’m really excited about the project. It is going to be a catalyst for the district.”

Mr Kempe, who is finalising plans for the 1872 mill buildings, is also responsible for TileYard studios in London, a creative ‘hub’ of offices, music studios and event space.

Celebrity musicians based at the site include Tinchy Stryder, Mark Ronson and Chase & Status.

Coun Box said: “To get someone of Paul’s calibre investing in the district shows that the business and private sector have confidence in our city and our people.”

Mr Kempe needs to finalise designs and submit the plans to the council but hopes development work will start later in the year.

The projected is expected to take around five years to complete.