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Progress on new Backstage Academy facility to be heard

Backstage Academy are set to move into the city's Waterfront House on Thornes Lane before next summer. (Google Maps)
Backstage Academy are set to move into the city's Waterfront House on Thornes Lane before next summer. (Google Maps)

Progress on plans to accommodate arts students at a new facility in Wakefield will be heard next week.

Backstage Academy, which offers courses in live events and drama production, are set to move into the city’s Waterfront House on Thornes Lane before next summer.

The Pauline Quirke Academy for performing arts ready to open its doors in Wakefield
The move was originally rubber-stamped in November 2015, when it was hoped that it would help the academy gain university status and draw young people from outside of the area.

Although the plans are still on schedule, the developers are now seeking retrospective permission on some minor adjustments to the original plans, as it has not been built as originally intended.

The number of en-suite bedrooms created at the facility has risen from 37 to 50, while rooms set aside for teaching have been converted into dining rooms, a lounge and a kitchen.

No-one has objected to the changes to the building, which was once used as a malt house.

Car parking and cycle storage will also be provided for students and staff.

Unity Hall will host Wakefield Business Conference
A report by council officers on the application, which will go before planning committee next Thursday, says: “The works are retrospective and

include some minor additional works including the removal of the original main entrance door, insertion of windows and painting of the exterior of the building.

“It has been decided to concentrate all teaching here and therefore it was considered prudent to maximise the potential to deliver student living accommodation at Waterfront House.

“The property is close to the amenities of Wakefield city centre and will offer students the greatest benefit in terms of lifestyle with easy access to teaching by bus or train.”