Crown Court building put on English Heritage’s at risk register

1 July 2002...FILE PICTURE...The Crown Court building in Wood Street, Wakefield.
1 July 2002...FILE PICTURE...The Crown Court building in Wood Street, Wakefield.
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Concerns are mounting over the future of the city’s old crown court after the building was labelled ‘at risk’ by English Heritage.

The neoclassical court house, which is the oldest building on Wood Street, has been left derelict for about 20 years.

This week English Heritage anounced it was now on its ‘at risk’ register.

The building forms part of Wakefield Council’s plans to redevelop the ‘civic quarter’, but neogiations with its private owners have been slow.

And Kevin Trickett, president of Wakefield Civic Society, said the society was worried about the condition of the building.

He said: “We’re concerned that some of the interior has probably vanished. We’d like to get inside and see what’s left.

“It’s an important building and the city’s first civic building on Wood Street.

“We’d like the public to still have access to the building. Especially with the town hall closing (temporarily) soon, there needs to be something to bring back some interest in the area.”

The old crown court has changed hands several times since it closed.

Wakefield Council said various plans to bring it back into use had fallen flat.

A spokeswoman said: “The council has been aware of its gradual worsening condition and had it placed on English Heritage’s “at risk” register.

“The council, together with EH, is currently involved in ongoing discussions with new owners about protecting the building in the short-term, and for long-term repairs to this listed building.

“The new owners have not advised the council of any proposals for the future use of the building at this time.”

The chapel at Yorkshire Sculpture Park was also added to the EH ‘at risk’ register.

But a £500,000 project began in the summer to restore the grade-II listed chapel and use it as an exhibition space.

Tammy Whitaker, EH’s principal adviser for heritage at risk in Yorkshire, said: “We are very pleased that the number of sites on the register is reducing, but there is still a lot left to do in order to preserve the historic buildings and places of Yorkshire for future generations.”

historic landmark

The court house was built in 1810, on land owned by Rev Wood, which is how Wood Street got its name.

Before then, court proceedings had been conducted in pubs.

The building was extended in 1849-50 and again in the 1880s.

It closed in 1994 and cases were moved to Leeds and Bradford.