'Micro-park' could be created on Wakefield's famous Bullring as council explains why fountain is switched off

A "micro-park" could be created on the Bullring in the centre of Wakefield.

By David Spereall
Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 4:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 4:36 pm

Wakefield Council has said it's looking into the prospect of developing a small green area on the space.

Speaking on a live Facebook Q&A session on Tuesday, senior council figures said the plans were in their early stages but could be "exciting".

The local authority has also explained why the Bullring's fountain has been switched off for more than a year, saying it presents a Covid risk.

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The Bullring has looked like this since 2009, when the area was revamped and a statue of Queen Victoria moved.

Maintenance issues and high water usage have also contributed to the decision to keep the fountain off.

Asked about the area by a member of public, the council's deputy leader Jack Hemingway said: "One thing we've been looking at in the city centre in Wakefield, and other town centres, is whether we can have more urban green spaces.

"Can we have more parks, flowers, trees and shrubs? We want to make our town and city centres more green and exciting places to come.

"It has so many benefits in terms of creating something that's visually beautiful, but it helps take pollutants out of the atmosphere from travelling vehicles in those centres.

"So we're looking at whether the Bullring could be one of those sites and whether we could have a small micro-park there.

"It's early stages yet but I think that could be an exciting way to enhance that area."

The Bullring was home to a statue of Queen Victoria until 2009, when the area was completely revamped and the fountain then installed.

Two years ago, retail guru Bill Grimsey urged councillors to further pedestrianise it, and make it the "nucleus" of the city centre, while also telling them to try moving the neighbouring betting shops away to other quarters.

Shedding light on why the fountain has been switched off, Glynn Humphries, the council's service director for communities, told the Q&A: "From a health and safety perspective, in terms of Covid, we've had to close the fountain because of airborne water particles.

"Hence why it's been closed for a while.

"There's been issues too in terms of maintenance and repairs."

Local Democracy Reporting Service