Work is set to start on Wakefield’s ‘game changer’ waterfront revamp

Work is set to finally start on a flagship regeneration programme on Wakefield’s waterfront, described as a “gamechanger” for the whole city.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 2:57 pm
The future: Artist’s impression of Rutland Mills redevelopment, the mills as they stand, and former Wakefield Council leader Peter Box outside Chantry House.

The Rutland Mills complex is to be converted into a modern multi-cultural space, complete with offices, music studios and a boutique hotel.

Planning permission for the scheme, which will involve regenerating the area’s empty Victorian buildings, was granted in 2018 but the work is only just ready to begin now.

It follows the signing of a deal between Wakefield Council and City and Provincial Properties (CPP), which has carried out similar developments in London. Council leader Denise Jeffery said that the end product will “put Wakefield on the map”.

Rutland Mills in Wakefield.

She said: “Signing this contract means the world to this district. It’s going to be a real game changer.

“We’ve waited a long time for this, we talked about it a number of years ago and I was involved in it through the regeneration project.

“It’s absolutely wonderful and it will put Wakefield on the map.

“It will bring jobs, it will bring investment and more than anything, it will bring people from all over the region to Wakefield for their entertainment.”

The first phase of the scheme, which will take around three years will see two of the old buildings torn down to create a direct access route through to the River Calder.

The rest of the properties will be renovated, one of which will be a space for a food business.

The entire complex will be branded Tileyard North.

Paul Kempe, from CPP, said: “Our vision is that Rutland Mills will be transformational for Wakefield, in particular, but also for the wider region and what we want to deliver here is a creative hub with all sorts of employment opportunities, for local people and those from further afield, who will want to come here and have a chance to be able to enjoy what will be an incredibly vibrant place.”

The Rutland Mills redevelopment won support from Wakefield Civic Society. Its president, Kevin Trickett, said: “This is a hugely important development for Wakefield and the re-purposing of the former mills complex as envisaged will add yet another dimension to the city’s growing reputation for culture and the arts.”