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New city gateway could bring jobs and investment

Picture by Allan McKenzie/YWNG - 07/06/18 - Press - Kirkgate Development, Wakefield, England - A general view over the area to be redeveloped.
Picture by Allan McKenzie/YWNG - 07/06/18 - Press - Kirkgate Development, Wakefield, England - A general view over the area to be redeveloped.

A £42m scheme to create a ‘South East Gateway’ to Wakefield city centre has been described as a “fantastic scheme” that will “make a real difference”.

Councillors have been told that around 1,400 temporary construction jobs and 632 permanent jobs will be created if the plans to redevelop brownfield land around the city’s Waterfront go ahead.

According to West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), a total of 3.3 hectares will be made available for development by being bought up and cleared for demolition, “thereby acting as a catalyst for regeneration”.

The plans, would see 700 homes built over a decade, and will complement the scheme to convert the nearby Rutland Mills into a retail and leisure complex.

This week, WYCA’s Investment Committee agreed to progress the project onto the next stage, where a business case will be drawn up.

Councillors were told that of the total project value of £41.55m and that the combined authority will make a contribution of £6.505m.

Committee member Denise Jeffery, a Wakefield councillor, said: “ It will make a real difference. It has been 12 years waiting for this to happen. We have ambitious plans for our district and the regeneration of the south east gateway is an important part of this.

She said the council applied for £8m of funding from WCYA but would also seek other public grants, and significant private sector funding.

She said: “It is the part of the city that includes the waterfront, home to The Hepworth and Rutland Mills which is being redeveloped. This is the cultural and creative heart of the city and these new plans will provide a real boost to the local area - creating over a thousand new job opportunities, increasing the training opportunities available in the creative sector and bringing more visitors into the city providing an estimated £1.5m extra in the local economy each year.”

Peter Box, the leader of Wakefield Council and the chairman of the investment committee, said the project was a “huge opportunity.”