Historic Wakefield city centre buildings to be renovated

Westgate, WakefieldWestgate, Wakefield
Westgate, Wakefield
Wakefield Council has received a funding boost of £1.9m from Historic England to support its multi-million pound plans to revitalise an historic part of the city.

The council has matched Historic England’s £1.9m grant, so that almost £4m will be invested in renovating Upper Westgate’s historic buildings, and, in cultural events and celebrations, once it is safe, following the coronavirus pandemic.

The funding supports the High Street Heritage Action Zones (HSHAZ) initiative and aims to breathe new life into the heart of the city by creating new jobs and attracting new small and medium businesses to the area, whilst conserving historic buildings.

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Coun Darren Byford, Wakefield Council's Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration, said: “It is great news that we’ve been awarded £1.9m from Historic England.

“Throughout the coronavirus pandemic the council and its partners have been helping businesses to access vital funds and support. This is yet another way of how we are showing our support to businesses in our recovery phase.

“Conservation work will ensure the exceptional Georgian and Victorian buildings of historic interest are protected, as well as preserving features such as surviving medieval street patterns and yard areas.

“This funding is a positive step for our future and I believe we can revitalise this historic Westgate area, attract new investment and encourage people to work, live and visit the area. The investment will support our wider economic plan for this part of the city centre – supporting the area to thrive and grow.”

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The council will work with Westgate building owners, offering them grant funding to restore buildings of historic and architectural interest and make use of vacant floor space within them.

At least 20 buildings will be restored, for both residential and business use.

The council is working with Wakefield Civic Society to help the restoration works meet the highest conservation standards.

Locally based contractors and architects will be sought to carry out the restoration works and training will be given to building owners to learn about how to maintain their properties, the council said.

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When it is safe, once the coronavirus pandemic has passed, a programme of cultural community activities will be offered, in partnership with cultural organisations based in the Westgate area. Wakefield residents will have opportunities to get involved and learn about Westgate’s unique history.

The project will also highlight the diverse art, cultural and educational organisations in the Westgate area and promote their contributions to the city’s future economic prosperity and reputation as a cultural destination.

They will be forming a Westgate cultural consortium that will bid for grant funding from Arts Council England to run a separate three year art and cultural events programme.