Wakefield barber shop, bars and Theatre Royal named as best regeneration projects in the city

Wakefield Civic Society has named bars, a barber shop and the Theatre Royal as being among the best regeneration projects.
Wakefield Civic Society has named bars, a barber shop and the Theatre Royal as being among the best regeneration projects.

Wakefield Civic Society has named bars, a barber shop and the Theatre Royal as being among the best regeneration projects in the city centre this year.

The society named the theatre’s new Centre for Creativity on Westgate as best new development and said the modern architecture of the building complement the older Victorian building.

Kraft barbers on Wood Street received the best refurbishment award with judges describing it as “fashionable and on trend” and a good use of a previously empty lot.

Back on Westgate, bar and venue the Counting House – the former Koco Bongo nightclub – was given a commendation in the best refurbishment category alongside bar Lobby 1867 in Unity House.

In our city centre survey you told us that empty units and dilapidated shopfronts were some of the things that put you off visiting the city centre.

From markets, to bars, to bowling alleys, readers told us they want more things to do in town and more efforts to revamp what’s already here.

The civic society also announced the winners of its restaurant awards, which is decided by the group’s dining club.

Society president Kevin Trickett said: “Our members are asked to consider the overall experience when attending our monthly outings. “They are looking for more than just good food – our members want good, friendly service and to feel that their custom is valued while enjoying comfortable surroundings.

“They are looking for something a little bit special and mark their overall experience of the evening. Both Syhiba and Create Café delivered just what our members were looking for.”

At the design awards Mr Trickett confirmed that these were the only categories that received nominations and said it was “a sign perhaps that the economic recession was still having an impact”.

He said: “Despite the low number of nominations, the society’s judging panel were determined to maintain the threshold for awards and commendations, even if this meant that no awards or commendations would be made in some categories.”

At a high street conference in Wakefield Town Hall earlier this month former Wickes and Iceland boss Bill Grimsey, who has advised the government, said we had reached a point where more retailers were closing than opening and massive change was needed.

But Mr Trickett said he hoped the forthcoming CAPA College near Wakefield Westgate station and the Tileyard creative quarter plan for Wakefield’s waterfront would feature in future awards when they are completed.

No awards were given this year for best shop front, best public house/cafe/bar/restaurant frontage, and best residential development of six units or more at this years event.