100 staff to move to office scheme

Merchant Gate in Wakefield.
Merchant Gate in Wakefield.

A hundred office staff and a new restaurant could move into a city centre regeneration scheme which has been largely empty since its 2010 opening.

A three storey building at Merchant Gate will be occupied by the West Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company (WYCRC) from January.

Back office staff and probation workers who supervise offenders will be based at the building on Burgage Square.

Jon Sheard, Head of Estates for Interserve Justice, the company that runs the WYCRC, said: “Burgage Square is ideal for our needs because it provides modern, efficient office accommodation at a central location.”

Wakefield Council has also received a licencing application for a restaurant, bar and grill at a unit at Burgage Square.

The application includes sale of alcohol between noon and midnight, Monday-Sunday.

The development of offices and flats next to Westgate Railway Station, struggled to attract occupants after it opened in September 2010.

Now it is hoped the move by WYCRC could encourage other companies to locate there.

Coun Denise Jeffery, Wakefield council’s cabinet member for economic growth and skills, said: “We are committed to welcoming businesses into our city so this is great news for Wakefield.

“Merchant Gate is a key location, being close to Wakefield Westgate Station and the city centre, and has easy access to the motorway network.

“We look forward to welcoming WYCRC and attracting other new businesses into our city.”

The office letting was confirmed by Merchant Gate developer English Cities Fund (ECF), a joint venture between Muse Developments, Legal and General and the Homes and Communities Agency.

James Scott, ECF’s senior development surveyor, said: “This recent letting is a testament to its central location, excellent transport links and good amenities, making it the ideal setting for a regional office.”