Plans to be drawn up for park campus

Thornes Park college campus.
Thornes Park college campus.

The first consultation period on the future regeneration of Wakefield College’s Thornes Park campus has finished.

And Panacea Property Development will now prepare plans outlining the scheme. Initial ideas include redeveloping the site, which is only partly in use, into housing or a care facility.

Mike Riddell, of Hometown Plus, which carried out the consultation, said: “People didn’t want residential development. That was the clear message.”

But he said there was a desire to improve the park and doing nothing was “not an option”.

Neil Patten, managing director of Panacea, said they would look at feedback as to why people were against residential development, try to address their concerns and aim to achieve something which is “financially viable” and that “everyone can be happy with”.

He said: “Wakefield College must dispose of the Thornes Park Campus site as it will soon be vacated. The college has actively engaged in the regeneration process as it is in nobody’s interest to leave the site derelict when they vacate.

“We are only looking at options to build on the existing college campus area, and where practicable to retain the existing buildings. We will not be and have never had any intention of building on the rest of the park. We do know that we will not be building a new public road through the park. This has never been proposed as it is simply not appropriate.”

College bosses say the campus costs around £0.5 million per year to run. Its sale would generate additional funds to contribute to the ongoing development of a £6.6m higher education centre in the city.

John Foster, deputy principal, said: “During the consultation meetings we were pleased that the college was acknowledged as being a good neighbour to Thornes Park. Having supported the park for many years, working with Panacea, we aim to ensure a positive legacy as we leave.”

Proposals will now be drawn up and further consultation will then take place.