Wakefield Council buys former Westgate railway station to make way for city centre hotel and offices

Wakefield Council has confirmed it has bought the city’s former Westgate railway station to make way for a new hotel to be built in its place.
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The local authority has purchased the derelict site as part of plans to regenerate the city centre.

It is hoped a hotel and ‘high quality’ offices can now be built to attract businesses back to the city and reverse a trend for out-of-town locations.

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Following the purchase, the council will carry out “soft market testing” to determine the level of commercial interest in the site.

The site of the former Westgate stationThe site of the former Westgate station
The site of the former Westgate station

The station ceased operations in 2013 when the new station on Mulberry Way was completed.

The purchase is being funded through a £24.9m government ‘Towns Fund’ grant allocated in 2021.

Several others projects in the Wakefield masterplan aim to transform the city, including the Tileyard North development and a new home for Wakefield’s library and museum.

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Mark Lynam, Wakefield council’s corporate director for regeneration, said: “The provision of high-quality offices and a hotel will be the final feature to our Westgate gateway, well positioned on the east coast mainline railway and adjacent to some of the city’s most valuable cultural assets.”

Kevin Trickett, interim chair of Wakefield’s high street task force, said: “Wakefield suffers from not having a quality hotel in the city centre.

“In my role as Wakefield Civic Society president, I sometimes organise events where I bring people from across the region or even further afield and it’s really difficult trying to organise logistics when the hotels are outside the city centre.

“In a previous job, I used to organise conferences and I would’ve loved to have brought that business to Wakefield, but I couldn’t because we just don’t have that sort of hotel, so, it’s an exciting prospect.”

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The old entrance to the station has been gated off since it was made redundant ten years ago.

A report to senior councillors in December 2020 stated that the council reached an agreement with Network Rail to buy the site for nearly £600,000.

It’s claimed the project could create more than 700 jobs, including 130 at the prospective hotel.