Archives to get new building

Registry of Deeds
Registry of Deeds

CRUCIAL documents of the county’s history will get a new home at the heart of the Kirkgate masterplan if council bosses give it the go-ahead next week.

The West Yorkshire Archives could be given a new purpose-built home at the site of Crown House, which will be demolished this summer.

A cabinet report said the project was expected to cost £4m and depended on Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funding.

But council bosses are expected to pledge their support to the funding bid at Tuesday’s meeting.

Coun David Dagger, cabinet member for culture, said about a third of the archives related specifically to Wakefield.

He said: “Keeping the service in Wakefield will secure a long term future for the archives and other records, improving the district’s cultural offer.

“Wakefield has been home to the archives for over 300 years. Losing the collections would be a great loss to the area.”

The council has been looking for a new home for the service following an inspection carried out by the National Archives last year.

It found that the Registry of Deeds building on Newstead Road, where the archives are currently kept, was “not fit for purpose.”

And repairing the building would cost an estimated £11m.

The historical documents include archives of the Wakefield district, county records of the West Riding and West Yorkshire, and the archives of the Wakefield Church of England diocese .

And the report said extra cash could be secured by a sale of the Registry of Deeds building, valued at £500,000, and contributions from other West Yorkshire councils.