City-centre business on the up with investment worth £1.3m

Coun Denise Jeffery,  pictured on Carlton Street, Castleford.
Coun Denise Jeffery, pictured on Carlton Street, Castleford.

City-centre business is on the up according to a regeneration boss who says a new scheme has attracted more than £1.3 million worth of investment and created 74 jobs.

The regenerative scheme launched by Wakefield Council provides much-needed help to those wanting to take over empty units in the city centre and other towns.

The council recently said that more than 27 businesses had accessed the support, which included 10 in Wakefield.

The remainder are in Castleford and Pontefract.

Coun Denise Jeffery, cabinet member for economic growth and skills at Wakefield Council said: “This is a great initiative which will help to maintain and improve buildings in our towns and city.

“Like all town centres up and down the country we do face some challenges.

“But the district has a strong retail offer with great markets and a variety of different shopping experiences.

Since March, there has been a surge of interest as people have seen projects coming to fruition, and Coun Jeffery says it is beginning to pay off with footfall on the increase.

“People are coming forward all the time, it’s amazing” she added.

“I wanted our towns and city in a strong position with a stronger economy.

“I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by how many are taking up the offer.”

And she added that many people are now returning to the high streets rather than shop exclusively online, which many feared could kill off city and town centres.

She added: “People like going to individual shops rather than internet shopping because they get a different take on it, they can go for a coffee or food, and it becomes a social thing.”

People can still can apply for the help until the end of June by emailing ecodev@wakefield.gov.uk