‘Buildings need preserving’ say civic societies

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The district’s heritage sites and historic architecture must be preserved for future generations.

That’s the message from the leaders of Wakefield and Pontefract civic societies, after 14 landmarks across our towns and villages were listed on the 2017 Heritage At Risk register, published by Historic England last month.

CONCERN: Wakefield Civic Society's own at risk list includes Clayton Hospital.

CONCERN: Wakefield Civic Society's own at risk list includes Clayton Hospital.

The archaeological sites, places of worship and historic buildings including Wakefield’s former Crown Court house, Pontefract Hermitage, Pontefract Castle and prehistoric settlement South Kirkby Camp were earmarked as ones that could be lost due to “neglect, decay or inappropriate development”.

But they are not the only ones sparking concern.

Paul Cartwright, chairman of Pontefract Civic Society, said the majority of buildings on the register were in use and “a good number” had seen significant investment.

But he said disused sites including the town’s Magistrates’ Court, the Counting House and The Peppermill on Baxtergate needed to be restored.

He said: “These aren’t necessarily at risk, but it’s important that we stress the need to see sympathetic and appropriate uses for these buildings, whilst preserving their unique aspects.”

The group also said Baghill Station, Robsons Almshouses and The Crescent Cinema were important locally and should be preserved.

“We would certainly not like to see these buildings lost”, Mr Cartwright said.

Kevin Trickett, president of Wakefield Civic Society, says the group has its own heritage at risk list, including Clayton Hospital, former Magistrates’ Court Tammy Hall and Wood Street Police Station.

He said: “We add buildings to our list when they are of architectural or historic interest and keep a watching brief until their futures are secure.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are in danger of collapse - or not just yet anyway.”

Mr Trickett said “newer” buildings in the city centre including the former BHS store, Fell House on George Street and the former Wakefield Express offices on Southgate could also be added, “because of the impact empty buildings can have on the look of the city”.

“We have to think about the legacy we are leaving for future generations,” he said.