Wakefield city centre's Victorian and Georgian buildings set for revamp

Major conservation work is to take place on some of Wakefield city centre's most historic buildings.

Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 2:47 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 2:48 pm

Upper Westgate is to be designated as a "heritage action zone" by the local council, with the area's Georgian and Victorian buildings set for a sprucing up.

A report on the issue says that many of the venues in question need big interventions to help them keep their character, but that doing the work could help boost business in the struggling city centre. Some of the buildings in question are empty.

The council says it is investing £4.4m into the scheme, half of which has come from grants and the private sector.

Upper Westgate has been labelled a heritage action zone.

Councillor Darren Byford, the authority's Cabinet member for regeneration, said: "This is an exciting project, which would support our long-term goals, deliver community and economic benefits to this part of the city.

"Re-purposing historic buildings would help improve perceptions of this part of the city and encourage businesses to locate into the city centre.

"It would also create new jobs that would help to reduce poverty and provide support to local communities."

The local authority has pledged to involve local art groups in the work and is considering hosting cultural events around the Upper Westgate area to complement the conservation work.

Councillor Darren Byford said the project would create new jobs.

The report, which will go before the council's Cabinet next week, says: "The purpose (of the work) is to help address issues of decline in the retail and business sectors (in terms of rates of retail/business closures exceeding new businesses opening) and encourage alternative sensitive reuse of the historic buildings."

Local Democracy Reporting Service