Plans to convert Wakefield's old crown courthouse on Wood Street formally submitted

Plans to revive part of Wakefield's Civic Quarter have been hailed as key to bringing people back into the city centre.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 1:33 pm
The building has been empty for many years.

Wakefield Council has formally submitted proposals to convert the disused old crown courthouse, on Wood Street.

The local authority wants to create space for multiple businesses in the venue, with a cafe-bar and a bakery among the things touted to move in.

The application, which followed a supportive response to the ideas from the public, is linked to the council's plans to develop the old Wood Street police station into flats.

Councillor Jeffery said she was excited by the plans.

A total of nine new homes could also be built in the nearby Gills Yard car park.

Council leader Denise Jeffery said: "The ideas we’ve got (for the old court building) are amazing. It’s going to be a community space.

"It has been empty for some time. We had to take ownership of it and we've spent quite a bit of money bringing it up to a decent standard.

"I think the idea of a bakery in particular will be great, so people can get fresh bread."

"I think it will bring people back into the town.

"I do worry about the shopping in town because people aren’t shopping as they used to do.

"If there’s somewhere for people to have a coffee and meet friends, it does make a difference."

The public response to the plans following a consultation over the summer has been described as "positive" in the application, though some have expressed concerns about car parking levels.

If the proposals are approved, the work is expected to start next summer.

Councillor Jeffery revealed the council was also considering pedestrianising Wood Street between its junctions with Northgate and Cross Street, so that cafes and diners could put more tables outside.

She said a similar scheme in Cross Square, close to Wakefield Cathedral, has "gone down really well", after that was put into place over the summer.

She added: "Over the next couple of years I think it will look very different in Wood Street.

"I think it's going to be great."

Local Democracy Reporting Service