One year of Covid: These are some of the plans in place to secure Wakefield's recovery

Plans are in place to make Wakefield into a more modern and forward-looking city as coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 1:46 pm
Updated Friday, 26th March 2021, 1:46 pm
Wakefield city centre

Wakefield Council has secured nearly £24.9m from the government’s Towns Fund, which will be spent on Wakefield city centre.

The council wants to adapt the economy to how life will be after the pandemic.

Wakefield’s Towns Fund cash is set to be invested into projects that include improvements to the Kirkgate area and converting the former Westgate station into a hotel.

The city will now work in partnership with a task force to develop full business cases for each project.

The task force groups include representatives from the council, local businesses, key stakeholders, the wider communities and local MPs.

Following the Towns Fund announcement in the budget, council leader Denise Jeffery said: “This funding will help us to move forward with our plans, and the investment will also support our economic strategy and support the district’s recovery from Covid-19.”

Cormac Hamilton, the chairman of the Wakefield High Street Task Force and centre manager at Trinity Walk shopping centre, said: “There’s a lot of work to be done, but given the strides we’ve already made in just over six months, we’re incredibly excited and confident in the future.

“This funding will enable us to realise some of our plans for the city centre which will benefit businesses, visitors and the entire city.”

Local authorities across the country were invited to bid for the grants in 2019.

Boosting the city’s digital and creative businesses and encouraging tourism are key to our recovery, Wakefield Council believes.

The council is set to approve extra government cash for the district’s creative and digital sector.

A £78,500 tourism recovery plan is underway for Wakefield.

In 2019, Wakefield was successful in securing £4.38m from the DCMS Cultural Development Fund.

And in November 2020, the team successfully applied for a further £1.2m from the DCMS Capital Kickstart scheme. The former Market Hall on Union Street is set to become an events and new business space.