Plans to reinvent Wakefield’s waterfront as a leisure complex with bars, restaurants, a hotel and a gallery have been approved.
The wide-reaching planning application means the go-ahead has been given to transform Rutland Mills on the edge of the city centre, just south of Kirkgate and the Hepworth.
The site is listed and the plans would mean some of the older buildings will be knocked down with others converted to accommodate new businesses.
The decision means one of the flagship regeneration projects for the city centre is set to begin early next year.
Wakefield Civic Society expressed its “wholehearted support” for the project.
Society president Kevin Trickett said: “This is a hugely important development for Wakefield and the re-purposing of the former mills complex as envisaged will add yet another dimension to the city’s growing reputation for culture and the arts.
“We very much welcome the initiative and look forward to seeing it come to fruition.”
The society said it could not see any other viable proposal for the site.
Mr Trickett added: “The buildings have been redundant for far too long and this redundancy has had a negative impact on the city overall and the waterfront in particular, presenting an unwelcoming barrier to the viability of the city’s waterfront aspirations on a key entry route into the city.”
Historic England supported the project but was concerned about the loss of some listed buildings in the plans. Coun Peter Box, leader of Wakefield Council, said: “We anticipate work starting on site in early 2020, for the third and final phase of the Wakefield Waterfront Project, which supports our ambitions to become a significant cultural destination and transform the historic waterfront development.”
Paul Kempe, director of City and Provincial Properties, the council’s partner for the project, said the waterfront would become “a thriving creative hub” and would be named Tileyard North. He added: “I would like to personally thank Peter Box, the planning officers and Wakefield councillors for their continued commitment and shared vision for this incredible project.”