Wakefield Library will move into empty BHS building as Levelling Up funding comes through

Wakefield's library will move into the city's redeveloped BHS unit afterall, having been excluded from the plans at the end of last year.

By David Spereall
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 12:22 pm

Council chiefs are regenerating the derelict old shop on Kirkgate into a city centre hub, complete with a museum and cafe.

But having originally hoped to relocate Wakefield Library into the new development, the council said in October it had been dropped from the plans.

They said then that the library would stay in its current home in the Wakefield One building, around half-a-mile away on the other side of the city centre.

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How the revamped building is expected to look from Kirkgate.

But the council has now changed its mind, with the work on site due to start soon and be completed within the next two years.

A report going before senior councillors next week said relocating it to a "more accessible and modern location" would encourage more people to visit the library.

It also said that the library, as well as the city museum which is in Wakefield One too, had seen relatively low numbers of visitors post-pandemic and that both would benefit from a move.

By contrast, other libraries in towns like Pontefract and Castleford have seen "faster returns" of people, the report said.

The library is now set to move from its current Wakefield One base, in 2024.

Jane Brown, the council's interim service director for economic growth said that relocating the library and museum would place, "An exciting mix of local services and exhibitions showcasing our unique stories right in the heart of the city."

The £12m job is being funded by Levelling Up grants passed down from the government.

Local Democracy Reporting Service