Council cash for Unity Hall

Chris Hill, Peter Box and Murray Edwards outside of Unity Hall after Wakefield Council pledges cash to regenerate the historic building.
Chris Hill, Peter Box and Murray Edwards outside of Unity Hall after Wakefield Council pledges cash to regenerate the historic building.

THE regeneration of a historic city centre building is a step closure after £500,000 was pledged by Wakefield Council.

The council’s cabinet voted through a contribution this week to help turn Unity Hall into an events venue and creative workspace, a project expected to cost £4m in total.

The council will grant Shine, the Leeds-based regeneration organisation behind the project, £100,000 up front to get the scheme up and running.

Shine’s Chris Hill said: “The council have been fantastic and I would like to thank them.”

Shine wants to bring the Grade II listed building back into use, owned by a co-operative called Unity House Wakefield Ltd.

It has launched a share issue to raise cash for the project which has so far attracted 75 members, including council leader Peter Box and Wakefield Civic Society.

Civic society president Kevin Trickett has handed over a cheque for £200 to Murray Edwards, executive director of Theatre Royal Wakefield, who is also part of the project.

Mr Trickett said: “The society has been tracking the fate of a number of Wakefield’s landmark buildings whose future was uncertain. Unity Hall is one of those buildings that have concerned us for some time.

“While our investment may be modest at just £200, it is nonetheless a positive contribution to the project and one that we hope will encourage others to invest as well.”

The new Unity Hall would have a capacity of about 800. The co-operative share issue closes on May 18. To take part, visit www.unityhallwakefield.co.uk

The cooperative will hold a tour of the building followed by a dinner for potential investors at Boccacchio’s restaurant on Thursday, May 3. For more information contact Mr Hill on 0113 388 0000.