Archives plan moves forward

Registry of Deeds
Registry of Deeds

CRUCIAL documents of the county’s history will get a modern new home if funding can be secured.

Councillors are hoping to give West Yorkshire’s archives a new purpose-built home at the current Crown House site, which is due to be demolished.

The move would be part of a wider project to regenerate the Kirkgate area.

It follows an inspection carried out by the National Archives last year.

It found that the archives’ current home, the Registry of Deeds building on Newstead Road, was deemed “not fit for purpose”.

Coun Ron Halliday, chairman of the council’s corporate performance overview and scrutiny committee, said the project could cost up to £4m.

But he said it was hoped that Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) could be secured.

He said: “We’ve been given the green flag to build on Crown House land, so we are moving forward.

“Funding is always difficult, particularly when others are putting in bids. The timing has to be right. But the National Archives is going to back our bid so that will make it a bit more solid.”

The documents, which include archives of the Wakefield district, county records of the West Riding and West Yorkshire, and the archives of the Wakefield Church of England diocese, could be moved out of the city if a new home cannot be found.

But Coun Halliday said it would cost up to £11m to refurbish the current building.

The council has been working with West Yorkshire Joint Services since November to find a new site and establish costs.

It is hoped the new building would also include also the archaeological and ecological records for West Yorkshire.