BHS building in Wakefield 'riddled with asbestos'

Wakefield's old BHS building is "riddled with asbestos", a senior councillor has revealed.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 4:21 pm
Updated Monday, 27th September 2021, 4:22 pm
The building has been empty since 2016, when BHS collapsed

Plans to install a museum in the venue, which has been deserted since the retailer collapsed in 2016, are on hold as a result.

Last year, the council revealed it wanted to demolish the building to make way for a new venue, in which a museum, library, gallery and cafe could be accommodated.

Now, the local authority says it's no longer planning to knock the building down, but to simply repurpose it.

Hopes of an imminent new lease of life for the building have been dashed.

Besides the asbestos issue, the council is also still awaiting news on whether its bid for government funding for the venture, which was submitted last year, has been successful.

Asked for an update on the building at a full council meeting on Wednesday, Council Darren Byford, who's in charge of regeneration, said: "We do need to do something with it.

"The building is, not to put too fine a point on it, riddled with asbestos from top to bottom."

"We want to be in there as soon as we can."

Locals have complained that the building, which is one of the city centre's most prominent, has become an eyesore.

The council put up new coloured tiles on the unit in 2019 to spruce it up, though Coun Byford admitted on Wednesday that that was a "halfway house solution".

He reiterated that he wanted to see the new plans realised soon.

Local Democracy Reporting Service