'Historic pub will be left to rot', developer warns

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Plans to breathe new life into a derelict pub that was once a live music and jazz venue have been given the go-ahead.

But the man behind the proposals for the former Wakefield Arms pub claims planning consent conditions will make the work "impossible" to carry out.

Hakim Karim applied for permission to convert and extend the Grade II-Listed pub, on Monk Street in Wakefield city centre, to create 14 apartments.

Wakefield Council planners last week gave the green light to the development.

But Mr Karim said: "There's so many conditions on converting it, you would think it is Buckingham Palace.

"It's impossible. You would have to pay a lot of money to do it and meet all those conditions and you wouldn't get the return back.

"I've got the planning permission but I'm not going to be able to do it. It is just going to be left to rot."

The conditions include having an accredited conservation professional draw up a report on structural repairs, restoring the building to safeguard its heritage before the new use begins, and implementing a programme of archaeological and architectural recording.

Planning documents submitted to the council describe the building as a "major eyesore" at the Kirkgate gateway into the city.

They state: "The property has been unused and derelict for many years and has suffered significant damage from trespass, vandalism and fire.

"To secure the building, windows at ground floor level have been breeze blocked in.

"The site forms a significantly detrimental and discordant feature in the street scene."

Mr Karim said he had hoped the building, which has been plagued by vandalism, could be improved to enhance the Kirkgate area of the city, which continues to undergo a multi-million pound regeneration.

The original pub building dates back to around 1830. But it is the site’s heritage in the 1970s and 80s that many remember the most.

The pub was often packed with crowds enjoying live music and jazz from names including the Kalahari Bushmen, Tony Cozzy Costello and Frank Heppy Hepworth, as well as the Wakefield Arms Jazz Band.