Project worth £1 million for former court building

Wakefield Crown Court.
Wakefield Crown Court.

A £1 million project has got underway this week to repair the structural damage on one of Wakefield’s oldest and most historic landmarks after falling into disrepair.

Contractors have started on site at the former crown court building on Wood Street initially with repairs to the shell to make it watertight.

Renovation work will also take place inside to make the interior safe.

Wakefield Council says the old building is a key part of the Wakefield Civic Quarter Regeneration Area, an important historic area of the city and its transformation is a key priority.

The council has been actively marketing the site and is in talks with interested developers.

Wakefield Council was forced to step in to safeguard the structure of the building after its previous owners abandoned it in an unsafe state.

Historic England placed the building on its ‘at risk’ register in 2013, meaning it could be beyond restoration if it deteriorated further.

The council then acquired the property from a private owner.

Coun Denise Jeffery, cabinet member for economic growth and skills, said: “This is a Grade-II listed building and is a key part of Wakefield’s heritage. We are committed to restoring this building so that it can be redeveloped and brought back into use. Previous owners had destroyed the building to a point where it became unstable. We have stepped in to make the building safe but now we need to invest in the building’s future to help us secure a developer to fully repair and restore it.

“By protecting it and carrying out repair works to its shell, we can help to make sure it is an attractive prospect for future development.”

As the oldest civic building in Wood Street, it was built in 1810. It was in use as a court building until its closure in 1992 and was sold by the HM Courts to the private sector in 1994.

Despite plans to restore and convert the premises by the previous owners, little work was undertaken.