Wakefield Council set to approve plans to sell former Crown Court and convert city's civic quarter into a 'new neighbourhood'

Wakefield Council’s Cabinet will be asked to give the green light to the next steps in the regeneration of Wakefield’s historic Civic Quarter into a newneighbourhood, with new homes and a new public facility.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Monday, 1st March 2021, 1:01 pm
Wakefield former crown court building
Wakefield former crown court building

The exciting plans involve converting and re-purposing one of the most historic areas of Wakefield city centre as a place where people can live, work and socialise.

Over the last seven years, the council has acquired the former police station and the former Crown Court buildings, and also demolished both the County Hall annexe and the multi-storey car park, to kick-start the much needed regeneration of the area.

The council has already agreed in principle to the sale of the key properties to the Leeds-based developer Rushbond, and cabinet are now been asked for approval to complete the disposal.

Rushbond intend to submit the first planning application by this summer for the conversion of the landmark buildings alongside new-build homes, as part of a co-ordinated and comprehensive plan to create a vibrant residential community.

The scheme will bring these key historic buildings back into use as places where people can live, work and socialise, supporting an over-arching ambition to breathe new life into this part of the city.

The innovative plan includes an intention for Wakefield’s former Crown Court, which has recently undergone extensive restoration to its shell, to be brought back into use, potentially as a public facility. It also sees the creation of a mix of residential development, at the former Wood Street Police Station, and on Gills Yard and Rishworth Street car parks.

Coun Darren Byford, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration, said: “These plans are hugely welcomed, this will help to breathe new life into this part of the city and ensure its stunning buildings are restored and transformed for future generations to enjoy.

“The regeneration and development of this key area of the city centre will offer new housing, community facilities and employment opportunities for our residents.

“We chose Rushbond because of their track record across our region in revitalising and repurposing historic buildings, combined with their flair for creating new homes and their commitment to delivering high quality work.

“These are exciting plans, which will also help us to rebuild our district’s economy following the pandemic by bringing more people into the city centre to live, work and visit.”

Members of Wakefield’s cabinet are meeting virtually on Tuesday, March 16 at 10.30am to discuss the plans. The meeting can be watched live or later on the Council’s website.