Arts hub plan for Wakefield market hall discussed

An arts hub will be built on the site of the market hall after plans for a cinema were shelved.
An arts hub will be built on the site of the market hall after plans for a cinema were shelved.

A £4.4m grant to boost Wakefield's creative industries has been officially accepted.

Around 600 jobs are expected to be created in the district thanks to the cash, much of which will be spent on redeveloping the old market hall into an arts hub.

Cabinet member for culture and leisure Jacquie Speight said the project was "very exciting".

Cabinet member for culture and leisure Jacquie Speight said the project was "very exciting".

The hall, which closed last year, had originally been earmarked for a cinema, but these plans have now been shelved after the developer was unable to make progress with that idea.

It is hoped that the money will help new and established businesses in the fields of gaming, arts and design.

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning, member for culture and leisure Jacquie Speight said: "What this will enable us to do is to build around existing creative industries across the district and nurture existing businesses over a period of time.

"We expect that to translate into 600 new jobs. It really is a very exciting development."

The funding will come from a cultural cash pot set up by the Government, for which local councils had to bid for a slice.

Wakefield will receive the largest investment, while Worcester, Grimsby, Plymouth and the Kent Thames Estuary were also successful in their bids.

On the market hall, Coun Speight added: "It was going to be demolished and disposed of but instead it's been identified as an ideal location to establish the creative hub."

A Cabinet report said that the plan to create a cinema and restaurant complex on the site had not progressed because of "wider market conditions", despite planning permission for it being approved.