Wakefield Council could step in to save derelict sites

120 jobs could be created as part of plans for a new Aldi and B&M store on the site of the former Crystal Drinks in Featherstone.'Councillors Graham Isherwood and Richard Taylor
120 jobs could be created as part of plans for a new Aldi and B&M store on the site of the former Crystal Drinks in Featherstone.'Councillors Graham Isherwood and Richard Taylor

Wakefield Council could step in to save derelict buildings across the district which it says are ‘pulling down its regeneration hopes.’

Councillors claimed they “could not sit back for much longer” and watch buildings fall into disrepair at a meeting last week.

Coun Denise Jeffery, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for regeneration, said: “We can’t sit back much longer as a council and see these buildings fall into disrepair.

“I do intend to speak to officers to see what action we can take to move the plans forward.

The council has identified the former Clayton Hospital in Wakefield as one of a number of sites across the district it will look at to see if it can regenerate them.

Featherstone councillor Graham Isherwood, chairman of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee, said his committee would produce a report on a number of neglected sites across the district.

He said: “I know that in my own ward it looks reminiscent of a battle ground in Streethouse.

“We are going to identify within scrutiny where these sites are across the district and come up with a strategy to deal with them.”

Work is already underway to build 450 homes on land just off the A645 Pontefract Road near The Junction pub in Featherstone.

A planning application was also submitted earlier this month for a supermarket and B&M Bargains store on the site of the former Crystal Drinks site, which could create 120 jobs.

Coun Isherwood said: “We have got a number of sites that are pulling our regeneration hopes down and hopefully we can help to address that problem.”

The Crystal Drinks site has been vacant since the factory closed in 2003.

Planning permission for a supermarket was granted in 2013 but no company came forward to invest in the site.

Coun Isherwood said: “It is a huge piece of land but it has just sat vacant for such a long time.

“We want to see the site developed. It doesn’t achieve anything to have it sat empty.”